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.
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
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,6 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.
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.
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:
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→
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.
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.
Like many superfluous, quasi-criminal, quasi-public institutions, the BIDs of Los Angeles are terrified that people will notice they’re a dangerous nuisance and proceed to abolish them. One symptom of this anxiety is a craving for academic justification stronger than the craving of tweakers for meth.
So one rich guy calls another rich guy and soon enough the RAND Corporation of Santa Monica, California, mostly famous for paying cold warrior par excellence Herman Kahn to analyze potential preemptive nuclear strikes on China while under the influence of LSD,1 has prepared a report on how beneficial the existence of BIDs is to the city of Los Angeles. TL;DR: Confuse correllation with causation and the tune that was called by the piper-payer ends up played by the piper.
We decided that we were going to do some research of our own. Luckily, the existence of a small sliver of land surrounding Olympic Boulevard between Central and Stanford is not claimed by any BID and thus allows us to analyze how beneficial the nonexistence of BIDs is to the city of Los Angeles. We obtained a small private grant and set out into the field.2 We think you’ll be interested in our results. Continue reading Exuberance, Freedom, Commerce, Blossom in Rare DTLA BID-free Zone→
When businessmen try to recreate Los Angeles from scratch they end up with some horrifying misbegotten travesty like CityWalk or Santa Monica. They don’t know how to make a real Los Angeles. If tourists knew how to make a place like this there’d be at least one out East of San Bernardino where tourists come from, and there’s not. Tourists don’t know how to make one either. Continue reading You didn’t build that→
Business Improvement Districts in Los Angeles — Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down!