Tag Archives: Rita Moreno

Tara Devine Accuses Rita Moreno Of Harboring Prejudice Against The Venice Beach BID And Of Badmouthing Her And Her Damn BID To Property Owners — And Of Being Too Dumb To Understand BIDs And Of Not Being Able To Read — Rita Moreno Accuses Tara Devine Of Badmouthing The City To Property Owners — Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?! — Oh, And More On Tara Devine’s September 26, 2017 Surgery, The Swiss Army Knife Of Excuses For Nonperformance Of Contractual And Statutory Obligations

As you no doubt recall, in April 2017 I was forced by the weirdo intransigence of Ms. Tara Devine to file a writ petition against the Venice Beach BID because they could not, would not, comply with the damn public records act for essentially years on end. And in June Tara Devine started handing over records, with more handed over in July. She’s evidently producing a batch a month even though she promised more, because just the other day I got a set of 284 emails between her and the City of Los Angeles, and I published them as usual on Archive.Org for your edification and pleasure.1

And there is a lot of good stuff in this set, but first a little more background. You will, of course, recall that the Venice Beach BID, despite being funded by the City starting in January 2017, didn’t even have a Board meeting until January 2018 and didn’t begin providing services until many months after that. This series of egregious failures led to a great deal of tension between the BIDdies and the City. So much so that in May 2018 the BIDdies got called on the carpet at City Hall and were also forced, much against their will, to refund all the money they’d collected for 2017.

And it seems that, obviously at least in hindsight, these serious consequences in 2018 arose from a great deal of tension between the City and the BID in 2017. The text for today’s sermon is a series of emails from October of that year between Tara Devine and Rita Moreno of the City Clerk which demonstrates exactly that.

It all started when Rita Moreno asked Tara Devine why the BID didn’t even have a working phone, which was forcing the City to field the outpouring of complaints from property owners who had paid a ton of money but were receiving nothing for it. Tara Devine, as is her angry and unprofessional little wont, flipped out on Rita Moreno, and the whole vitriolic exchange with links and transcriptions is right after the break!
Continue reading Tara Devine Accuses Rita Moreno Of Harboring Prejudice Against The Venice Beach BID And Of Badmouthing Her And Her Damn BID To Property Owners — And Of Being Too Dumb To Understand BIDs And Of Not Being Able To Read — Rita Moreno Accuses Tara Devine Of Badmouthing The City To Property Owners — Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?! — Oh, And More On Tara Devine’s September 26, 2017 Surgery, The Swiss Army Knife Of Excuses For Nonperformance Of Contractual And Statutory Obligations

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Some Insight Into How Mike Bonin Arranges For Business Improvement Districts To Present His Policy Positions To The Public Is Provided By A Moderately Bizarre Email Exchange Between Don Duckworth And Bonin Chief Of Staff Chad Molnar On Mike Bonin’s Position On Street Vending Opt-In Versus Opt-Out And Requiring Vendors To Obtain Property Owner Permission — After Which Don Duckworth Wrote To His Bosses On The BID And As Good As Accused Mike Bonin Of Being A Whiny Little Baby

Oh, man! Don’t you hate it when you tell your followers and minions and networkers that your Councilmember supports some policy position and then his chief of staff flips out on you and “requests” that you eat your words and you have to do it cause if you don’t the Council District might cut off the flow of zillion dollar bills pouring down on you and the damn zillionaires as whose henchman you serve from the heady cornucopian heights of the fourth floor of 200 N. Spring Street?1

What?! That never happens to you?! Well, it certainly happens to BIDdological freak show specimen Donald Duckworth like, all the freaking time. This is the story of one such episode from 2017 having to do with street vending, which began on January 11 when 2017 Donald Duckworth sent out the Westchester Town Center BID‘s Winter 2016 newsletter.

It contained a typically stupid but essentially innocuous article on the infamous CF 13-1493, which is, of course, the street vending matter. I don’t have the original email attached to which he sent the thing, but he also forwarded a copy to Rita Moreno of the City Clerk’s office. And therein we find the following exhortatory paragraph, which evidently accompanied the newsletters sent out to the BIDs willing minions:

We are sending the newsletter now so that our readers have an opportunity to voice their preferences with respect to the proposed City action that is being supported by Councilman Mike Bonin. Think of taco carts, fruit vendors, and cheap merchandise together with all of the litter, sidewalk mess, and clutter caused by vendors that don’t pay rent, taxes, or fees as the brick and mortar stores they are competing against do. The Westchester Town Center BID has requested our Councilman to not force street vending on the community of Westchester and to require property owner approval before any vendor could set up shop in front of their property. If some neighborhoods want it fine, but we don’t think Westchester is one of those places. The Neighborhood Council and Chamber of Commerce have agreed. How fair is it to require property owners to repair their sidewalks but not allow them to have a voice in whether or not someone can set up a business there?

Well, it seems that Councilmember Mike didn’t like this claim that he was in favor of the street vending apocalypse2 and he called Donald Duckworth on the morning of January 12, 2017 and was all like hey dude, not right and therefore apologize. And Donald Duckworth, whose job is to bring home the bacon rather than to aggravate the pigs, begged forgiveness and agreed to correct the damn record. And the whole detailed story along with links to and transcriptions of the emails and other records can be found directly after the damn break!
Continue reading Some Insight Into How Mike Bonin Arranges For Business Improvement Districts To Present His Policy Positions To The Public Is Provided By A Moderately Bizarre Email Exchange Between Don Duckworth And Bonin Chief Of Staff Chad Molnar On Mike Bonin’s Position On Street Vending Opt-In Versus Opt-Out And Requiring Vendors To Obtain Property Owner Permission — After Which Don Duckworth Wrote To His Bosses On The BID And As Good As Accused Mike Bonin Of Being A Whiny Little Baby

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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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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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Last Friday, May 18, Devine And Heumann Got Called On The Carpet At City Hall To Get Yelled At By Wolcott, Hoppes, Moreno, Bazley, And Possibly Molnar! — We Have A Copy Of The Refund Affadavit Letter Being Sent To VBBID Property Owners! — As Of This Wednesday, May 23, Tara Devine Still Hadn’t Submitted The Freaking Annual Planning Report — Moreno Coming At Her All Salty! — And Rightly So!

A bunch of new documents for you this morning, friends! You can look through the whole pile of them here on Archive.Org, and read on for some selected gems!

First of all, recall that the Venice Beach BID is being required by the City to refund most of the money collected from property owners in 2017 because they were too damn arrogant and/or incompetent to actually do anything other than pay themselves salaries with the almost two million dollars the City handed over to them.1

You can read this copy of the letter to property owners along with instructions for filling out the necessary affadavit. This was scheduled to be sent out on May 11. What’s more interesting, though, is this email exchange from May 8 between Tara Devine and Rita Moreno about when this letter was to be sent. First Rita Moreno emailed Tara Devine at 3:20 p.m. and said:

Hi Tara,

For your information, attached is the notice and instructions that will be mailed out on Friday. Also included will be the actual Affidavit and the return envelope.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Rita

A mere seven minutes later2 the shadowy one fired off this intemperate reply:

Thank you. To clarify, we want to sit down before anything is mailed . It is important that we understand the entire process.

I’m working now to schedule something as early as possible next week. (Monday is launch, so it can’t be Monday.)

Amazingly, Tara Devine does not seem to understand that she’s not in charge of this situation. She and her BIDdies out in Venice have messed up far, far beyond what’s acceptable to the City, and it takes an awful lot to get to that point. She does not have the leverage to set terms. Which is essentially what Rita Moreno said to her in reply.

Turn the page to read that reply as well as the story of Tara Devine and Steve Heumann’s May 18 meeting at City Hall with a bunch of angry City officials and the story of how as of this Wednesday, May 23, Tara Devine still hasn’t gotten that damn annual planning report in!
Continue reading Last Friday, May 18, Devine And Heumann Got Called On The Carpet At City Hall To Get Yelled At By Wolcott, Hoppes, Moreno, Bazley, And Possibly Molnar! — We Have A Copy Of The Refund Affadavit Letter Being Sent To VBBID Property Owners! — As Of This Wednesday, May 23, Tara Devine Still Hadn’t Submitted The Freaking Annual Planning Report — Moreno Coming At Her All Salty! — And Rightly So!

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Additional Confirmation That This Blog Was Instrumental In The Resumption Of City-Wide Registration Of BID Patrol Officers With The LAPD Comes From A Whiny Little Email From Anti-SRNC Conspirator George Yu Of The Chinatown BID To Rita Moreno Of The City Clerk’s Office

You may recall that in 2016 our work here at MK.Org led to the City of Los Angeles resuming enforcement of a law that had been ignored for more than 15 years which requires security guards, including BID security, who operate on public streets to register with the Police Commission and thus be subject to some public oversight.

In December 2017 I got powerful independent confirmation that the City’s renewed enforcement was due to the work of this blog when Greg Foster, security honcho for the downtown criminal conspiracy known as the Central City East Association, stated in an open and public meeting that such was the case.

And yesterday I received a copy of this June 2017 email from Chinatown BID boss George Yu to City BID analyst Rita Moreno bitching and moaning about the requirement and thereby providing even more confirmation. In fact George Yu sent Rita Moreno a link to this very blog!1 And he introduced the link with the following statement: “Please see link below on what lead up to this.” How’s that for confirmation?!

This was part of a massive dump of material that was obtained from the City Clerk via the California Public Records Act and subsequently shared with me. I’ll be writing about the rest of the material from time to time, and of course there’s a transcription of the entire exchange after the break along with some inconsequential commentary. Why not take a peek, friend?!
Continue reading Additional Confirmation That This Blog Was Instrumental In The Resumption Of City-Wide Registration Of BID Patrol Officers With The LAPD Comes From A Whiny Little Email From Anti-SRNC Conspirator George Yu Of The Chinatown BID To Rita Moreno Of The City Clerk’s Office

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Mike Bonin Told Taylor Bazley To Ask Rita Moreno If It Was Possible To Remove “A Specific Affordable Housing Development From The BID” — Rita Moreno Wrongly Told Him It Was Not Possible And Cited Tara Freaking Devine In Support Of Her Incorrect Theory — Yet Again The City Of Los Angeles Cedes Its Lawful Authority To BIDdies For Nefarious Reasons Of Its Own

Remember at the end of the hearing at which the City Council established the Venice Beach BID in November 2016 CD11 repster Mike Bonin told the audience that he was going to help get residential-use properties out of the BID. Listen to him here, and here’s what he said:

And I would just say one final thing to those who talked about the fact that they have properties that are zoned commercial but are used as residential. As I said when I met with
[unintelligible] recently, I am happy to help those folks get their properties rezoned as residential properties.

Bonin reneged on that promise, and since then he’s been parroting Tara Devine’s mendacious theory that there’s no way for commercially zoned properties to be removed from a BID even though the PBID law very clearly states otherwise.1 It empowers the City Council to lower assessments and/or to remove properties from a BID for any reason or no reason at all.2

Mike Bonin is so committed at this point to hewing to Tara Devine’s bizarre interpretation of the law that he even lets her respond to press inquiries on the matter using his name. And the City Clerk, Ms. Holly Wolcott, is also all-in on this theory, even though it’s provably wrong, wrong, wrong. So presumably her staff in the Clerk’s office are also true believers.

Thus it was not much of a surprise to learn from this January 2018 email exchange between CD11 Venice field deputy Taylor Bazley and City Clerk BID honcho Rita Moreno that Bonin was still obsessed with finding legal support, no matter how shaky and wrong it might be, for never ever removing any property from the BID ever.3

The short version is that Taylor Bazley wrote to Rita Moreno and was all can we remove a particular affordable housing project from the BID?! And Rita Moreno, who is evidently not even worried about getting popped for the unlawful practice of law, was all no way Taylor!! Properties can’t be removed from the BID for any reason whatsoever until the end of the BID!!

And to support her position she quoted a bunch of wrong-headed contradictory nonsense from Tara Devine! Anyway, there’s a transcription of the email thread and some commentary after the break, so read on, friends!!
Continue reading Mike Bonin Told Taylor Bazley To Ask Rita Moreno If It Was Possible To Remove “A Specific Affordable Housing Development From The BID” — Rita Moreno Wrongly Told Him It Was Not Possible And Cited Tara Freaking Devine In Support Of Her Incorrect Theory — Yet Again The City Of Los Angeles Cedes Its Lawful Authority To BIDdies For Nefarious Reasons Of Its Own

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The Venice Beach BID Annual Planning Report Provides An Opportunity For Mike Bonin To Unilaterally Remove Properties From The BID Or Reduce Their Assessments To Zero — This Could Happen This Month If Mike Bonin Will Do It!— No Zoning Change Required Even!— Maybe Some Constituent Pressure Will Convince Bonin To Use This Power?


Business improvement districts in California are required by the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994 at §36650 to submit an annual planning report to the City every year. The reports must subsequently be approved by the City Council.

One function of these reports is to explain how the BID will spend its money in the coming year, but they have another important purpose. According to the statute:

The report may propose changes, including, but not limited to, the boundaries of the property and business improvement district or any benefit zones within the district, the basis and method of levying the assessments, and any changes in the classification of property, including any categories of business, if a classification is used.

In other words BIDs are allowed to remove properties entirely or reduce their assessments, presumably all the way to zero if they so choose, merely by stating that they’ll do so in their annual planning report.

Now, the Venice Beach BID approved their APR at their April 13, 2018 meeting and submitted it to the City on April 30. They didn’t propose any changes in boundaries or assessment methods. But it turns out that, according to the law, they don’t have the final say. The statute says at §36650(c) that:

The city council may approve the report as filed by the owners’ association or may modify any particular contained in the report and approve it as modified.

So that means that not only can the BID use the APR to remove properties or to reduce their assessments even down to zero, but the City Council can do that also, even without the BID’s approval. And the way things work in the City of Los Angeles, that means that Mike Bonin himself can make the changes. There’s no way his colleagues are going to oppose him on a matter that affects only his district. Read on to see how this might actually lead to properties being removed from the BID this year!
Continue reading The Venice Beach BID Annual Planning Report Provides An Opportunity For Mike Bonin To Unilaterally Remove Properties From The BID Or Reduce Their Assessments To Zero — This Could Happen This Month If Mike Bonin Will Do It!— No Zoning Change Required Even!— Maybe Some Constituent Pressure Will Convince Bonin To Use This Power?

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Beachslapped!! — Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott Wrote To Mark Sokol And Tara Devine On April 18, 2018 Stating That More Than $1.3 Million Of The Venice Beach BID’s Unused 2017 Assessments Will Be Refunded To Property Owners Starting In July 2018 — A Monumental Development Considering The City’s Extreme Reluctance To Get Involved With Overseeing BIDs At All

At their March 9, 2018 meeting the Venice Beach BID Board of Directors discussed refunding some or all of the $1.8 million collected from property owners in 2017, most of which is unspent because the BIDdies took so long to get moving. You can read the minutes here, and there’s a transcription of the salient item after the break.

It appears from the minutes that the BID only agreed to inquire of the City whether a refund was possible. However, when City Clerk Holly Wolcott responded to the BID’s inquiry in an April 18, 2018 letter, she wrote as if the refund was a done deal. And since her office controls the money, it seems that it is a done deal. Wolcott says that refunds will issue beginning in July 2018.

This strikes me as yet another vote of no confidence in the beleaguered Venice Beach BID as run by Mark Sokol, Tara Devine, and the rest of their horrow-show crew. Although it’s well-known that under Wolcott the City of Los Angeles has essentially been completely unwilling to police BID activity in any way, she seems to be coming around to the idea that there’s something really, really wrong in Venice. There are transcriptions of everything after the break.
Continue reading Beachslapped!! — Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott Wrote To Mark Sokol And Tara Devine On April 18, 2018 Stating That More Than $1.3 Million Of The Venice Beach BID’s Unused 2017 Assessments Will Be Refunded To Property Owners Starting In July 2018 — A Monumental Development Considering The City’s Extreme Reluctance To Get Involved With Overseeing BIDs At All

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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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