Tag Archives: Robin Bieker

South Park BID Brown Act Demand Letter Leads To Complete, Total, Abject, Sniveling, Obsequious Concession To Every Last One Of My Demands! — Will They Be Able To Pull It Off? — I Doubt It — But Benefit Of The Doubt Is The Order Of Today — Not Of Every Day, Though

Today’s episode in our ongoing Brown Act Enforcement Project, which you can read all about right here on this page entitled Our Work is the abject and total capitulation of the South Park BID to every last one of the demands made in the letter I sent them on December 14, 2018. This is a not-unexpected move, since doing so obviates the chance of an expensive lawsuit which they’d be sure to lose and possibly would have to pay my litigation costs as well as their own.

Like so many of our local BIDdies they were advised in the process by the world’s angriest BID attorney, Carol Freaking Humiston of Bradley & Freaking Gmelich. And really, more than advised as she clearly wrote the letter of capitulation that Board Chair Robin Freaking Bieker sent out to me over his own signature yesterday. It’s got every known Humistonian trope on parade, e.g. “You don’t know what you’re talking about and whatever it is you’re totally wrong but nevertheless we’ll do what you demand but not for any reason.”1

And unlike the previous Brown Act transgressions I’ve spotted and skooshed out with these demand letters, there is a really complex violation here. The SPBID has maintained a secret committee, the Executive Committee, that meets in private and votes by email. The BID has agreed not to do this any more, but my impression from their emails is that it’s really essential to the way they function. It’ll be interesting to see how they get along with out it.

Although it’s as if not more likely that they’ll keep breaking that particular bit of the law and try to cover it up by claiming that all relevant emails are exempt from production, quite likely due to the nebulous and mostly made up deliberative process privilege. Well, we’ll certainly see what happens. Meanwhile, turn the page for a transcription of the articles of surrender.
Continue reading South Park BID Brown Act Demand Letter Leads To Complete, Total, Abject, Sniveling, Obsequious Concession To Every Last One Of My Demands! — Will They Be Able To Pull It Off? — I Doubt It — But Benefit Of The Doubt Is The Order Of Today — Not Of Every Day, Though

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Latest And Most Ambitious Episode In Our Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets South Park BID For Three Violations — Requiring Sign-In To Attend Meeting — Voting By Email — And Most Egregious Of All — Maintaining A Standing Committee Which Meets Only In Secret — Never Posts Agendas — Never Announces Meetings To Public — Votes By Email Regularly — This Is About The Worst Ongoing Brown Act Violation I Have Ever Seen Among BIDs!

For a few months now I’ve been running a project aimed at getting the BIDs of Los Angeles to comply with the Brown Act. This certainly ought to be the job of the City of Los Angeles, but they have completely abdicated all responsibility, so it seems to be more or less just up to me. The system relies on §54960.2 of the Brown Act, which allows any interested party, such as me, to allege that a BID1 violated the Brown Act and demand that they cease and desist from violating it in the future.

The BID then has the choice of issuing an unconditional commitment not to repeat the alleged violations2 within 30 days of the letter or else face a lawsuit. I’ve done four of these since August, the first three resulting in complete and utter capitulation by the BIDs involved, and the fourth I just sent out yesterday morning to the South Park BID. Here’s a list of the old ones:

Now, the South Park BID has had its problems in the past complying with the Brown Act, but on the other hand, Ellen Salome Riotto has been relatively willing to learn from her mistakes. Usually I just drop her a line and she fixes the problem.3 However, I recently learned of two new violations which are far, far too serious to be left to the kind of informal mole whackery in which I’ve so far been willing to engage. These are the subject of this demand letter which I sent yesterday morning to the BID.

The letter alleges violations of three sections of the Brown Act. The first is that they required me to sign in to a meeting in April. I’ve written about this incident before and they seem to have stopped doing it, but it’s worth including here to get them to formally commit not to doing it any more. The second violation is that in November the BID Board actually voted on an item via email at the instigation of Ellen Salome Riotto. This is so freaking illegal, so freaking contrary to the very essence of the Brown Act, that I’m utterly astonished that it happened. And yet it does seem to be a genuine error rather than malfeasance.

The sad irony is that Ellen Salome Riotto explicitly arranged this illegal vote in order to avoid violating the Brown Act’s mandates about teleconferencing. And that she seemed to think that it would be OK because it was justified by the BID’s bylaws, as if state law could be nullified by some two-bit corporation unilaterally announcing that they weren’t subject to it. The whole situation would be tragic if these careless, ignorant people weren’t granted so much public trust.

And the final violation is just stunning in its scope and its audacity. The Brown Act clearly states that committees must also follow open meeting requirements.4 The South Park BID, however, has an executive committee which doesn’t post agendas, meets in secret, and discusses, deliberates, and takes action via email, by phone, and at their secret meetings. It’d be easier to list the parts of the Brown Act that this doesn’t violate!

Secret actions by a public agency like the BID are untenable. This is how democracy dies, so I can’t allow it to continue. And in this case Ellen Salome Riotto has ignored my questions about the violations. Hence the necessity of the demand letter. Turn the page for transcriptions, links to the evidence and code sections, and maybe even some more of my moralistic ranting!
Continue reading Latest And Most Ambitious Episode In Our Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets South Park BID For Three Violations — Requiring Sign-In To Attend Meeting — Voting By Email — And Most Egregious Of All — Maintaining A Standing Committee Which Meets Only In Secret — Never Posts Agendas — Never Announces Meetings To Public — Votes By Email Regularly — This Is About The Worst Ongoing Brown Act Violation I Have Ever Seen Among BIDs!

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Remember In 2017 When Tara Devine Was The South Park BID’s Renewal Consultant? — For A While It Seemed That The Petition Drive Was Lagging And That The BID Would Have To Go To Manual Billing For Year One — BID Treasurer Bob Buente Blamed Tara Devine For This — Publicly Proclaimed Himself To Be “Not A Tara Fan” — And Also Congratulated Himself Cause He Didn’t Yell At Her On The Phone! — And When Tara Failed Ellen Salome Riotto Stepped In! — Saved The Damn Day! — And Was Rewarded Just Like A Real Life Fairy Tale!

Remember when Jessica Lall left the South Park BID after Carol Schatz’s hand popped up out of out of that lake and handed Jessica Lall control over that weaponized slice of zillionaire mob-rule known as the Central City Association? And Ellen Salome Riotto came up out of nowhere like Dick Whittington and his damn cat to assume the holy mantle of interim South Park BID Zeck Dreck?1

And around that time, for whatever reason, twisted little Parkie minion Katie Kiefer was the boss of South Park BID’s CPRA efforts. And the power went to her head, or she had not yet realized that Carol Freaking Humiston was working through her own weirdo anger issues rather than giving prudent advice to her clients, or something. And in those dark days the South Parkies were a very model for CPRA-obstructionist BIDdies.

But, you know, I keep trying, because they have important information out there in the Park. And I am pleased to announce that those dark days are past! Now, under the enlightened regime of Ellen Salome Riotto, now promoted to most expressly non-interim Zeck Dreck, the records are pouring in! And there are no nonsensical copypasta exemption claims of the aggressively psychotic sort Katie Kiefer was so very damn fond of! And the first batch is prepped and available! It’s about 800 emails from the hidden vaults of BID Board treasurer Bob Buente! And you can see all of them right here on Archive.Org!

And friend, there are a million good stories in there. Some of them are monumentally important, but those will have to wait till later. In this episode I want to share with you an objectively trivial but subjectively delicious little slice of gossip about shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine and her ultimately dissatisfied BID renewal clients over at South Park2 and how her failure led to Ellen Salome Riotto’s promotion.

And now I yammered on for so long that you’ll have to turn the page just to find out what is the subject of the damn post. One of the pitfalls, one of the pleasures, of writing without an editor to boss me about!
Continue reading Remember In 2017 When Tara Devine Was The South Park BID’s Renewal Consultant? — For A While It Seemed That The Petition Drive Was Lagging And That The BID Would Have To Go To Manual Billing For Year One — BID Treasurer Bob Buente Blamed Tara Devine For This — Publicly Proclaimed Himself To Be “Not A Tara Fan” — And Also Congratulated Himself Cause He Didn’t Yell At Her On The Phone! — And When Tara Failed Ellen Salome Riotto Stepped In! — Saved The Damn Day! — And Was Rewarded Just Like A Real Life Fairy Tale!

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