Tag Archives: Santa Monica

Remember Mike Bonin’s Former Venice Field Deputy Taylor Bazley? — The One Who Was Always Going On About How He — And His Boss — And The Rest Of The Damn Staff — Didn’t Have Anything To Do With Those Damn Planters? — But It Turned Out That He Did? — Well Now It Turns Out That He’s Been Encouraging Housedwellers To Place Planters At Least Since 2017 — To “Harden” Streets “From Future Encampments” — And Other Such Nasty Language — Never Once Mentioning Beauti-Freaking-Fication — And Those Recent Planters Behind Whole Foods On Lincoln? — The Venice Neighborhood Council Paid For Two Of Them! — Public Money Spent On Actually Illegal Things — This Is Very Not OK — Last Thing — Mark Ryavec Acknowledges In Writing How Much Help His Planter Placer Buddies Have Gotten From LAPD — The Whole Thing Is So Gross

Here’s a little self-quoting for background:

Everybody knows about those damn planters in Venice, but we’re just beginning to learn the depth of the City’s complicity with the angry housedwelling planter-placers. And fairly recently I obtained some emails that proved that Mike Bonin’s staff, if not Bonin himself, have been very complicit indeed, which led me to file a complaint with the City Ethics Commission against one of them, Taylor Bazley.

And today I have some serious new information about the planters. First, some planters were recently installed near the Whole Foods at Lincoln and Rose. It turns out that two of these planters, as illegal as all the rest of them, were paid for by the Venice Neighborhood Council, which allocated $600 for two of them at its meeting on January 8, 2019. You can read all about it in the minutes and agendas.

The process was initiated by solipsistic Venice housedweller Tatiana Morrison, whose ridiculous Go Fund Me is still at less than forty percent of its goal, with this formal request to VNC for money. Like so many of the zillionaire classes, when her pathetic attempts at putative self-reliance failed miserably, she was perfectly happy to misappropriate public funds to accomplish her misbegotten goals.

So here we have the City of Los Angeles, through its department the Venice Neighborhood Council, spending public money on things that violate actual laws. If they had spent the $600 on, say, cocaine, it would have been legally, ethically, morally, the same thing although much, much less harmful to society. I’m not exactly sure if there’s any recourse for this kind of thing, or at least any affordable recourse, but I’m thinking about it and I will be sure to let you know if anything presents itself.

Now on to your friendly neighborhood psychopath, Mark Ryavec. Everyone knows he and his Klown Kar Krew of Venice housedwellers have been one of the major forces behind the deluge of illegal planter placings and that the LAPD has been helping him out big time, even though LAPD Chief Michel Moore has publicly denied that his folks are involved at all. But nevertheless, documentary evidence of these well-known facts has been fairly sparse. That’s why this email exchange from August 2018 between Ryavec and Taylor Bazley, Mike Bonin’s former field deputy for Venice1 is so important. Here Ryavec, trying to cajole some money out of Bazley, makes the following admission against interest:2

We – the residents – have done allthe heavy lifting with the beautification effort, with the only real assistance from the City coming from the LAPD. To date we have raised over $35,000 for this effort and provided countless hours of volunteer labor. Can the City of Los Angeles at least make an effort to provide trash bins and regularty empty them?

And finally, now, on to the main thing.3 It’s also well-known that Taylor Bazley has repeatedly denied his involvement with the planters. And yet, behold this email conversation from December 2017 between Bazley and former VNC member and all-round sociopathic housedweller Matt Shaw about placing some planters on Third Avenue in Venice.4 And despite all the denials, it’s Bazley who’s the instigator: “Can we push this ball over the hill? lf we wait until the problem is back and there is urgency it might be too late…” And despite all the talk about beautification, Bazley’s very explicit about the purpose being anti-homeless: “I think that will harden 3rd significantly from future encampments.”
Continue reading Remember Mike Bonin’s Former Venice Field Deputy Taylor Bazley? — The One Who Was Always Going On About How He — And His Boss — And The Rest Of The Damn Staff — Didn’t Have Anything To Do With Those Damn Planters? — But It Turned Out That He Did? — Well Now It Turns Out That He’s Been Encouraging Housedwellers To Place Planters At Least Since 2017 — To “Harden” Streets “From Future Encampments” — And Other Such Nasty Language — Never Once Mentioning Beauti-Freaking-Fication — And Those Recent Planters Behind Whole Foods On Lincoln? — The Venice Neighborhood Council Paid For Two Of Them! — Public Money Spent On Actually Illegal Things — This Is Very Not OK — Last Thing — Mark Ryavec Acknowledges In Writing How Much Help His Planter Placer Buddies Have Gotten From LAPD — The Whole Thing Is So Gross

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Why Is The RAND Corporation Paying Off People In Skid Row To Discuss Public Safety? — The Same RAND Corporation Whose Pro-BID Study Is So Influential That It Is Cited In The Actual Property And Business Improvement District Act — The Same RAND Corporation That’s Funded By The Department Of Homeland Security — The Same RAND Corporation That Justified Carpet Bombing And Torture In The Vietnam War For Robert McNamara — The Same RAND Corporation That Paid “Megadeath Intellectual” Herman Kahn And His Ilk To Theorize About Winnable Nuclear War

The flyer you’re looking at was posted around Downtown Los Angeles recently, seeking participants in discussion groups about “neighborhood safety,” to be paid $25 for 90 minutes of their time. As you can see at the bottom, the moving force behind this was the RAND corporation, a Santa Monica based think tank that has been providing theory-driven rationalizations for all manner of murderous government policies since 1948.

Now, I don’t know what kind of information RAND is looking for here or what they’re planning to use it for, although the multiple layers of deception embedded in the poster itself1 make it hard to believe that they’re working on anything life-affirming. I do know that RAND has a history with business improvement districts in Los Angeles.

BIDs actively collect data about what passes for public safety in zillionaire circles and repurpose it as propaganda in the service of the vast development and gentrification machine in which they are teensy cogs. For instance, as putative evidence that more and more and more police are needed in gentrifying areas, and that those police need increased powers to deal with the putative danger. Or that more and more and more BIDs are needed and that those BIDs need increased powers as well.

Without evidence to the contrary it’s likely that, whatever else the information they’re gathering might be used for, RAND is certainly going to use it for this kind of thing. Or, once published, it will be used for this even if not by RAND. This has happened before. Just for instance, in 2009 RAND released a massive report on Los Angeles BIDs and public safety. Although the results of this study were ambiguous, nevertheless it has been taken up by both BIDs and by governments as weighty evidence in favor of the theory that BIDs reduce crime.

So much so, in fact, that it’s actually cited in the Property and Business Improvement District Act of 1994 as one of the reasons that the State Legislature promotes the formation of business improvement districts, at §36601(e)(1):

Property and business improvement districts formed throughout this state have conferred special benefits upon properties and businesses within their districts and have made those properties and businesses more useful by providing the following benefits … Crime reduction. A study by the Rand Corporation has confirmed a 12-percent reduction in the incidence of robbery and an 8-percent reduction in the total incidence of violent crimes within the 30 districts studied.

Tangentially, this report is surprisingly honest in a weirdly Orwellian sense about what BIDs are up to, much more so than the BIDs themselves ever are. For instance, read this selection,2 wherein the authors “… describe the BIDs in terms of their public safety (or social control), beautification (or broken windows), and marketing (or place promotion).”
Continue reading Why Is The RAND Corporation Paying Off People In Skid Row To Discuss Public Safety? — The Same RAND Corporation Whose Pro-BID Study Is So Influential That It Is Cited In The Actual Property And Business Improvement District Act — The Same RAND Corporation That’s Funded By The Department Of Homeland Security — The Same RAND Corporation That Justified Carpet Bombing And Torture In The Vietnam War For Robert McNamara — The Same RAND Corporation That Paid “Megadeath Intellectual” Herman Kahn And His Ilk To Theorize About Winnable Nuclear War

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Yesterday At The Arts District — Just A Perfectly Ordinary Average BID Board Meeting — Fear, Rumor, And Other Mongerings — Zillionaires Joking About How To Wheedle More Valuable Concessions Out Of The City — And The Familiar But Nevertheless Still Astonishing Hatred Of Transparency

Yesterday I paid my first visit to the Arts District BID board of directors. You can find the video here on YouTube and here on Archive.Org. Now, this BID is a fascinating and unique BIDdological case study due to its 2011 dissolution and entirely anomalous re-establishment in 2012, which involved creepy unethical subterfuge by City BID boss Miranda Paster and underhanded interventions by the whole weirdo panoply of the Downtown zillionaire power elite including, but never ever limited to, the zillion dollar woman herself.

But none of that rich and textured1 history was on display yesterday. No cracking of the bones of the homeless to greedily suck their marrow, no complaining about the skin color of the neighborhood’s non-zillionaires, no comparing groups of non-white people to caged animals. In short, none of the spectacularly white supremacist fireworks which sometimes burst forth to dazzle and bemuse sane onlookers.2

As I said, it was a quite ordinary BID meeting. But as ordinary as it was, it nevertheless displayed a wide variety of low-key instances of the usual BIDdie tropes. We had zillionaires laughing about how the City is not only able but willing to overturn any given development restriction on request. We had zillionaire anxiety about my filming, this time manifesting in a board member quietly confronting me on camera and then checking with the Arts District’s twittery little twerp of an Executive Director, Miguel Vargas.3

We had zillionaires casually going off-agenda, poised to violate the Brown Act, be pulled back from the brink by an alert colleague. We had, as I said, the usual zillionaire jive. And it’s nevertheless fascinating. Turn the page to links and brief transcriptions of a few moments that I found worth noting.
Continue reading Yesterday At The Arts District — Just A Perfectly Ordinary Average BID Board Meeting — Fear, Rumor, And Other Mongerings — Zillionaires Joking About How To Wheedle More Valuable Concessions Out Of The City — And The Familiar But Nevertheless Still Astonishing Hatred Of Transparency

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More Than Ten Thousand Emails! Downtown Santa Monica BID And Downtown Center BID! Two Unbelievably Rich Sets Of Records!

This is just a short note to announce two massive sets of emails that I’ve obtained over the last couple weeks. There’s so much material here that it’s taken an unusual amount of time to get it processed and published. I will be writing about this material over the next few weeks. There’s so much, and it’s so rich, that it’s going to take me a while to get it all sorted out, so I thought it’d be best to make it available to you right away:

  • Downtown Santa Monica BID — Emails between the City of Santa Monica and the Downtown Santa Monica BID from January 1 through September 8, 2017.
  • Downtown Center BID — Assorted emails from the Downtown Center BID, mostly from 2017.

Like I said, there’s so much here that it will take a while to get it sorted through. Meanwhile, though, turn the page for some interesting stuff you can begin to look for on your own.
Continue reading More Than Ten Thousand Emails! Downtown Santa Monica BID And Downtown Center BID! Two Unbelievably Rich Sets Of Records!

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How I Reported Fashion District BID Executive Director Rena Leddy To The Ethics Commission For (a) Failing To Register As A Lobbyist And (b) Failing To Recuse From A DLANC Vote For Conflict Of Interest

As you may already know quite well, in the City of Los Angeles, people are required by the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance to register with the Ethics Commission if they’re compensated for 30 hours of lobbying activity over three consecutive months.1 This year I’ve been working on reporting BID consultants to the Ethics Commission for failure to comply. So far I’ve filed two complaints, both against Tara Devine, one for her work on the Venice Beach BID and another for her work on the South Park BID.

But consultants aren’t the only BID people who spend their time trying to influence municipal legislation.2 BID staff actually spend a huge amount of time on this as well, and they never ever register as lobbyists. Also, they have never, in the entire history of Los Angeles, ever been called to account for failing to register. In fact, they’ve fought vigorously against the very idea that their work is even subject to the MLO.3

Consequently I’ve been working on expanding my unregistered lobbyist reporting project to BID staff as well. I kicked off the modern era of this project4 today by filing a complaint against Rena Leddy, executive directrix of the Fashion District BID, for failing to register and also for violating conflict of interest laws. You can read the whole complaint if you wish, and there’s a detailed discussion after the break.5
Continue reading How I Reported Fashion District BID Executive Director Rena Leddy To The Ethics Commission For (a) Failing To Register As A Lobbyist And (b) Failing To Recuse From A DLANC Vote For Conflict Of Interest

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Gang Members, Seeking Respite From The Seething Urban Hell That Is Present-Day Santa Monica, Pour Over Northern Border Into Pacific Palisades, Bringing Crime, Fear, Misery — LAPD Unleashes Helicopters Against Palisades Homeless — The Last Days Are At Hand! Build That Wall, Mr. Bonin!

You probably thought that this place was nothing more than a colony of self-satisfied zillionaires and their floofly little dogs, just strolling around on the bluffs in their $1,400 Jimmy Choos, but it turns out that it’s a seething urban hell, generating crime wave after crime wave in the Palisades. Build that wall, Mr. Bonin!
OK, remember after the Venice Beach BID was approved for the second time and Mike Bonin gave a meandering, semi-sensical, victory speech, pronouncing definitively that he

…acknowledge[d] that there have been issues and problems with BIDs in other areas. But there have also been BIDs that have been very successful and have been great partners in solving homelessness. In Pacific Palisades we have a BID that has actually worked with the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness and has helped get people housed.

Combine this statement, just begging to be fact-checked, with the fact that Mike Bonin’s weirdo staff is engaged in a criminal conspiracy to violate the California Public Records Act, thereby bringing the legally authorized investigations of brave citizen journalists into the shady shenanigans of CD11 to a grinding halt, and how could I resist asking Mike Bonin’s darling Pacific Palisades BID for a bunch of public records?

Well, last night, PPBID executive directrix Laurie Sale, in addition to coming at me all salty with a bunch of copypasta lawyerese about how she wasn’t handing over anything unless God and the FBI told her she had to,1 also provided me with a year’s worth of agendas and minutes from her according-to-Mike-Bonin-exemplary little BID out there to the northwest of reality in zillionaireville. Of course I put it up on Archive.Org immediately. And there’s some fine craziness in there, friends.

Greetings homeless neighbors! On behalf of the Palisades BID I would like to announce that we are from the LAPD and we are here to help the old amongst you, especially those whose health has deteriorated!

First of all, with respect to the homeless population of the Palisades, which according to Mike Bonin this BID’s handling of is a pattern of enlightened BIDolatry, take a look here at the Minutes from February 3, 2016, where we read, in the words of Laurie Sale her own self, that:

Older homeless are receptive to services as their health deteriorates. On the enforcement front, Michael Moore will be here soon to attest to the fact that they’ve gotten a lot more support from LAPD. Have provided more air support and foot support and they’ve mapped out all of the encampments. The signage has helped and allowed them to go in and get people off of the bluffs. Currently have a count of approximately eighty (80) homeless in the area but no market
[sic] increase.

Continue reading Gang Members, Seeking Respite From The Seething Urban Hell That Is Present-Day Santa Monica, Pour Over Northern Border Into Pacific Palisades, Bringing Crime, Fear, Misery — LAPD Unleashes Helicopters Against Palisades Homeless — The Last Days Are At Hand! Build That Wall, Mr. Bonin!

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Venice Beach BID Proponents Carl Lambert and Andy Layman Are Being Sued by City of LA For AirBnB Shenanigans, We Have Copies of The Complaints!

WWJMD?
WWJMD?
It’s well-known that two of the major proponents behind the nascent Venice Beach BID, Carl Lambert and Andy Layman, are being sued by the City of Los Angeles for illegal AirBnB activities. You can see the pro-BID petitions submitted by these two dimwits here: Lambert 1Lambert 2Layman 1. By the way, if you haven’t seen them yet, the full set of pro-BID petitions is also available.

Anyway, I wasn’t able to find copies of the complaints online, and the Superior Court charges one dollar per page for PDFs, which is not within our budgetary constraints. But fortunately, the ever-helpful Mike Dundas came charging over the metaphorical hill like the metaphorical cavalry this morning and sent me copies, which I’m now making available to you:

Note that Feuer’s office filed two other complaints against illegal AirBnBers, but as they’re not BID-related, I’m not discussing them here. However, I did publish all of them on the Archive. These make interesting reading, chock-full of accusatory goodness, and are worth your time. You can read them yourself, and there are some excerpts after the break.
Continue reading Venice Beach BID Proponents Carl Lambert and Andy Layman Are Being Sued by City of LA For AirBnB Shenanigans, We Have Copies of The Complaints!

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Berkeley Police Department Fulfills Experimental CPRA Request in 59 Days

Anymore, the astonishing beauty of the city of Berkeley is only skin deep.
Anymore, the astonishing beauty of the city of Berkeley is only skin deep.
Long-time readers of this blog will recall that, due to the stunning reluctance of the LAPD to comply with the simple mandates of the California Public Records Act, I’m running an experiment in which I requested 100 emails to and from BIDs from each of three California police departments. The SFPD was the clear winner here, supplying me with the goods in a mere 23 days. Late last week the city of Berkeley weighed in with two sets of emails (one and two). Most of the content isn’t especially interesting if you don’t know the dramatis personae; it’s the same old song about the homeless, about behaviors, about activities, about protecting investments, and so on and on and on. I did spot one interesting episode, which I discuss after the break. Also, I will note that the Long Beach PD still has not fulfilled my request (although they are discussing it with me), and of course the LAPD ignores everyone and they’re still being sued because of that. Is it a coincidence that the two cities that follow the law have municipal sunshine ordinances while the two that do not lack such laws? I doubt it very much.
Continue reading Berkeley Police Department Fulfills Experimental CPRA Request in 59 Days

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Breaking News Flash! Indefatigably Feckless Dude-Bro Steven Whiddon Out as Media District BID Exec Direc!

Indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon and erstwhile exec direc of the media district BID.  He's off the bus for as yet undetermined reasons.
Indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon and erstwhile exec direc of the media district BID. He’s off the bus for as yet undetermined reasons.
California politics is a tough way to make a living. We play hardball out here on the coast! If you can’t hit major league pitching you gotta leave the bright lights big city and head back in bowed-down shame to Santa Monica or West Hollywood or some other no-count small town.

Our faithful correspondent was just informed this morning by none other than BID mouthpiece Jeffrey Charles Briggs that “Steven [Whiddon] is no longer with the BID.” JCB didn’t say why it was that Mr. Whiddon didn’t even last a year in his new job. How did the BID go from shelling out way, WAY too much money for new computers for Steven in October 2014 to him being “no longer with the BID” in September 2015? Perhaps it was his tin-eared insensitivity to the subtly expressed desires of his board. Perhaps it was his general all-round dude-bro-itude. Perhaps it was reckless disregard of both law and decency. Perhap it was his crazed and imprudent spending habits. Perhaps, though, as rumor has it…(we always put the unsubstantiated juicy stuff after the break, don’t you know?)
Continue reading Breaking News Flash! Indefatigably Feckless Dude-Bro Steven Whiddon Out as Media District BID Exec Direc!

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The BID Itself Incites to Violence: the Mendacity of John Tronson, John Caner, and Everyone Else Who Runs a BID

Berkeley BID Patrol officer giving a performative demonstration of Homer’s maxim that “the blade itself incites to violence.”
The Downtown Berkeley Association is the shell corporation that runs the Downtown Berkeley BID, founded in 2011. By now you’ve probably seen the video, filmed by a brave citizen journalist, of a Berkeley BID Patrol officer1 punching a homeless man over and over and over again because he felt “disrespected” by him. The story made the international press.

Now, Berkeley is far, far off our beat, and, deep down, despite the divers desperate, damp dreams of our local Hollywood BIDs about the gentility and grace of our silicon-addled red-headed stepchildren to the north, we generally find ourselves unable to give even the teensiest shit about what shenanigans they get up to north of Pacoima. However, this case requires comment, shedding some light as it does on the ultimate source of the lies with which we who cover the BIDs are habitually showered.

Berkeleyside has a good summary of the background. Two Berkeley BID Patrollies confronted two homeless men and then, after some shouting, one of the BID Patrollies lost his shit and punched one of the homeless men repeatedly. The whole thing was caught on video, although the truth didn’t come out until the homeless men had been arrested, charged with assault and, that fall-back catch-all bullshit charge, criminal threats, and pled out, even though they were transparently, evidently, innocent. This kind of thing happens every day. What’s more interesting is the Berkeley BID’s spin on this hateful miscarriage of justice.
Continue reading The BID Itself Incites to Violence: the Mendacity of John Tronson, John Caner, and Everyone Else Who Runs a BID

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