Tag Archives: South Park BID

The San Pedro BID Is Paying BID Consultant Edward Henning Only $20,000 To Handle Their Impending Renewal. This Is 64% Less Than The Fashion District Will Pay Urban Place Consulting And 75% Less Than The South Park BID Will Pay Tara Devine. Why The Huge Variation In Compensation For A Job Whose Elements Are Delineated By The City?

You may recall that Edward Henning is an engineer who works with a number of BID consultants on BID establishment and renewal, writing the engineer’s reports required by Streets and Highways Code §36622(n). I’ve previously reported, e.g., that he seems to get paid about $9,000 for writing these things.1 Well, TIL that Ed Henning is also a BID consultant his own self!

The story begins with Lorena Parker, executive director of the San Pedro Historic Waterfront BID, sending me the contract that Ed Henning and her BID signed for consulting services, along with some ancillary information:

These materials are also available on the Archive, which is useful because of OCR and so forth. And that’s today’s goodies. Turn the page for discussion!
Continue reading The San Pedro BID Is Paying BID Consultant Edward Henning Only $20,000 To Handle Their Impending Renewal. This Is 64% Less Than The Fashion District Will Pay Urban Place Consulting And 75% Less Than The South Park BID Will Pay Tara Devine. Why The Huge Variation In Compensation For A Job Whose Elements Are Delineated By The City?

Kosmont Invoices For Gateway To LA BID Reveal How Much Time It Takes To Get A BID Renewed, And It Doesn’t Look Good For BID Consultants, Like Tara Devine, Like Urban Place Consulting, That Are Not Registered As Lobbyists With The City

Larry Kosmont handled the Gateway to LA BID’s 2014-5 renewal and was, very properly, registered as a lobbyist while doing so.
You may recall that the Los Angeles Municipal Lobbying Ordinance requires qualified lobbyists to register with the City Ethics Commission and also disclose a bunch of interesting information about their clients and their income. Also, the process of establishing or renewing a BID is fairly complex, and most property owners’ associations1 hire a consultant to guide them through the process. These consultants are regulated and recommended by the City Clerk’s office.

The process of getting a BID established or renewed, it turns out, looks an awful lot like the definition of lobbying activity to be found at LAMC §48.02, which is essentially preparing information and discussing it with City officials as part of influencing the passage of municipal legislation. The law requires anyone who’s paid for thirty or more hours of this over three consecutive months to register as a lobbyist, and it’s generally extremely hard to prove that someone’s met this criterion. You may, e.g., recall that earlier this year, in order to make a reasonably convincing case that Venice Beach BID consultant Tara Devine had passed this threshold, I spent months piecing together more than a hundred pages of evidence regarding her BID consultancy work.

But recently it’s occurred to me that these consultants have contracts with the BIDs they service, and that at least in the case of BID renewals, the contracts will be accessible via the Public Records Act.2 The contracts will contain some information about how much time the consultants spend on the project, and thus should be useful as evidence in reporting consultants to the Ethics Commission for lobbying without a license.

The project started to produce results at the end of February, when the incomparable Laurie Hughes of the Gateway to LA BID supplied me with her BID’s contracts with Larry Kosmont, who was handling the renewal process.3 Well, late last week, Laurie Hughes gave me an absolutely essential set of documents, consisting of detailed monthly invoices from Kosmont to the BID during the 15+ month renewal process. These are fascinating,4 containing as they do detailed inventories of every individual task involved in the renewal process broken down into fifteen minute billing increments. Turn the page for more descriptions, discussion, and speculations.
Continue reading Kosmont Invoices For Gateway To LA BID Reveal How Much Time It Takes To Get A BID Renewed, And It Doesn’t Look Good For BID Consultants, Like Tara Devine, Like Urban Place Consulting, That Are Not Registered As Lobbyists With The City

Unidentified Business Improvement District Seeks Free CPRA Advice From First Amendment Coalition, Does Not Get Answer They Are Looking For

The First Amendment Coalition is, in their own words,

… an award-winning, nonprofit public interest organization dedicated to advancing free speech, more open and accountable government, and public participation in civic affairs.

and their mission includes the fairly forthright statement that

The Coalition is committed to the principle that government is accountable to the people, and strives through education, public advocacy, litigation, and other efforts to prevent unnecessary government secrecy and to resist censorship of all kinds.

For instance, in furtherance of this mission, the FAC is presently suing the City of Los Angeles over Tom LaBonge’s immoral and idiotic destruction of records from his time as Councilmember. They were also a friend of the court in the recent momentous California Supreme Court decision making the personal email accounts of public officials open to CPRA for material that relates to the public’s business. This is not an organization that anyone sane would expect to be sympathetic to the whiny, entitled, and clueless complaints of a business improvement district that has been asked to comply with its legal obligations under the California Public Records Act, amirite?

One of the most useful services that the FAC provides is called Asked & Answered. People can send in questions about CPRA and the Brown Act and the FAC’s attorneys from Bryan Cave will answer them publicly and for free if they might interest a wider audience. These questions are usually from people frustrated by inane, self-serving, and illegal government obstructionism in the face of CPRA requests. So imagine my surprise when, a few days ago, this little gem of a question appeared:

Q: As a Business Improvement District, we are an agency of our local gov’t and subject to PRAs. I have submitted countless reports, minutes/agendas, financials and even a record of one full year of emails. Now I have been asked to submit the email database I have developed for communicating with my business members.

I am not comfortable giving this database to the public. While I have no problem disclosing my email correspondence, I do not feel right giving my email database to someone who can then send mass emails to these businesses.

Do I have to submit the database if requested through the CPRA?

Well, given the FAC’s general orientation towards CPRA, you can probably imagine the answer, and you can also read it, with some commentary and the usual uninformed speculation, after the break.
Continue reading Unidentified Business Improvement District Seeks Free CPRA Advice From First Amendment Coalition, Does Not Get Answer They Are Looking For

Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Moonlights As A Planning And Zoning Lobbyist, Also Unregistered!

A recently discovered shadowectomized portrait of shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine by French Fauvist painter Raoul Dufy, who never drew a shadow in his entire career.
As Karl Marx so wisely pointed out once upon a time1 crime is a career like any other. One reason is that there’s a learning curve. It takes some experience to be able to make crime pay. And the same, it seems, is true for unregistered lobbyists like our perennial subject, shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine. I reported last week that I had turned Tara Devine in to the Ethics Commission based on exhaustive research that indicated that she had spent more than 30 compensated hours over three consecutive months in 2016 lobbying for the Venice Beach BID without having registered with the City.

And I really thought I had found most of the relevant evidence,2 but it turns out that I was ever so wrong. Just last night I discovered, never mind how, that Tara Devine not only does shadowy BID consultancy, she also represents permission-seeking clients before planning boards. You can see details, dates, and so on after the break!
Continue reading Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Moonlights As A Planning And Zoning Lobbyist, Also Unregistered!

New Documents: Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Earns Another $17,000 From South Park, Contractual Relations Between Carol “The Queen Of Downtown” Schatz’s Pet BID And Homeless Outreachers PATH

Carol “The Queen of Downtown” Schatz
Perhaps you recall that I recently put a bunch of transaction records from the South Park BID up on Archive.Org because they’re both intrinsically interesting and also exceedingly useful in estimating how much shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine gets paid to drop yet another BID on our fair City; about $80,000, if my chain of inference is correct. Well, just recently I received SPBID’s transaction log from July 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017, which adds another $17,635 to Tara Devine’s running total. This makes more than $95,000 that the South Park BIDdies have paid Tara Devine. It’s probably not all for their BID renewal, though. As I reported the other day, the two South Park BIDs1 are evidently merging into one big bad BID, and Tara Devine is shepherding them through the sausage factory City Clerk’s office, so probably that’s mostly what she’s being paid for at this point. I have more requests in that may help us sort out the details.

And additionally I finally prepared and uploaded a bunch of documents concerning the relationship between the Downtown Center BID and PATH2, which is a private group that contracts with a lot of BIDs and even Council Districts to provide something they call “outreach” to homeless people. Turn the page for links to a few specific items with some brief commentary.
Continue reading New Documents: Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Earns Another $17,000 From South Park, Contractual Relations Between Carol “The Queen Of Downtown” Schatz’s Pet BID And Homeless Outreachers PATH

Attention South Park BID Property Owners! Now Revealed!! What Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Absolutely Does Not Want You To Know About Your Right To Defer Payment Of Your Assessment!!! As She Says: “It Is Not Advisable To Broadcast This”! “We Don’t Like To Advertise”!!

Shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine as deftly reimagined by the justifiably famous MK.Org technologico-informational-infrastructural machinery.
The $80,000 woman and famed co-conspirator of shady contributors and City Attorney lawsuit targets, liar and sneaky deceiver and putter of words into Mike Bonin’s mouth and subject of investigations, shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine, was the guest of honor at Wednesday’s meeting of the third creepiest BID downtown. Her appearance was recorded for this blog by an intrepid correspondent.1 The background is that the South Park BID and its little mutant offspring the South Park II BID are going to merge next year. The process is essentially as complex as starting a brand-new BID, and Tara Devine is the consultant leading the faithful through the slough of despond City bureaucracy. The South Parkies are going to miss some mandated deadline, which will cause the first year’s assessments to be billed and collected by the Los Angeles City Clerk’s office rather than by the County Assessor.

And this so-called “manual billing” has various consequences for the BID’s income that differ in various ways from what happens when the assessment is collected by the County of Los Angeles. You can listen here as Tara Devine explains one of these differences, which is a top-secret, not-to-be-advertised, not-advisable-to-broadcast, hitherto-unknown-to-anti-BID-theory hardship mercy rule. That is, for whatever reason, if the Clerk’s collecting the money instead of the County, and the property owner has a problem paying, it can be worked out:
Continue reading Attention South Park BID Property Owners! Now Revealed!! What Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Absolutely Does Not Want You To Know About Your Right To Defer Payment Of Your Assessment!!! As She Says: “It Is Not Advisable To Broadcast This”! “We Don’t Like To Advertise”!!

Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Seems To Get Paid About $80,000 For Establishing A BID, Which I Managed To Discover Despite The Fact That She’s So Darned Secretive

Shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine looks fate’s oncoming train straight in the eye.
There’s an unresolved problem in the application of the California Public Records Act to business improvement districts. The thing is that the Property Owners’ Associations which administer the BIDs are, in part, subject to CPRA because §36612 of the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994 makes them so, stating that:

“Owners’ association” means a private nonprofit entity that is under contract with a city to administer or implement improvements, maintenance, and activities specified in the management district plan. … an owners’ association shall comply with the California Public Records Act … for all records relating to activities of the district.

The problem is that the Owners’ Association doesn’t seem to be required to comply with CPRA until it actually is under contract with the City. This, if accurate, means that the activities of the POA before the BID is approved are largely opaque to scrutiny. And this has been a severe problem in the case of the Venice Beach BID, where a number of people, not just me, have had the experience of CD11 staff,1 City Clerk staff, and even freaking Holly Wolcott herself, falsely denying that the City is involved in the BID formation process at all and telling members of the public that they should therefore seek information from shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine. Tara Devine, of course, ignores all requests for information from anyone who seems to be even a little skeptical about the benefits of BIDs.

None of this is the final word on the matter. The only reason that the legislature even made BIDs subject to CPRA is that Aaron Epstein, a brave and determined property owner, sued the living shit out of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance2 in the 1990s and the Courts determined, in a stunningly righteous decision, that BIDs were subject to both CPRA and the Brown Act. It’s quite possible, perhaps even probable, that if the courts were asked whether or not POAs were subject to CPRA before the contract was signed, they would find that they were. However, that’s not a struggle in which I presently have the resources to engage, so alternative methods of information collection are required.

Fortunately,3 Tara Devine is not a one-BID woman. See, in 2015 the South Park BID was up for renewal.4 The process of BID renewal is essentially the same as the process for BID establishment, with the huge difference that it’s carried out by a POA that’s already under contract with the City, and is thus subject to CPRA. And thus was it possible to gather surprisingly much information about how Tara Devine conducts her dangerous business!5
Continue reading Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Seems To Get Paid About $80,000 For Establishing A BID, Which I Managed To Discover Despite The Fact That She’s So Darned Secretive

New Documents: Halden and Taslagyan Schedules, Emails Galore, South Park BID Shenanigans, PATH Reports

2016_06_halden_schedule_detailThis is just a quick post to announce the availability of tons of new records (with more to come this weekend, I hope!) These are available both on Archive.Org and locally through the menu structure above or directly from our document storage.

There’s a list of the new stuff after the break.
Continue reading New Documents: Halden and Taslagyan Schedules, Emails Galore, South Park BID Shenanigans, PATH Reports

Lots of New Documents: CD5 Food Coalition Emails, CD13 HPOA Emails, Carol Schatz and Mike Feuer Material, 2016 Quarterly Reports From A Bunch Of BIDs

The subterranean archives at MK.org are filling up fast!
The subterranean archives at MK.org are filling up fast!
Just a quick post this fine Saturday morning before heading off to Canter’s for breakfast. I’ve been quietly uploading stuff to Archive.Org over the last few weeks, and there’s gotten to be quite a bit of unannounced material over there:

And turn the page for material to do with Carol Schatz, Mike Feuer, and a bunch of highly assorted quarterly BID reports from the first half of 2016.
Continue reading Lots of New Documents: CD5 Food Coalition Emails, CD13 HPOA Emails, Carol Schatz and Mike Feuer Material, 2016 Quarterly Reports From A Bunch Of BIDs

Many, Many New Emails from CD13 About Homeless Encampments, From CD4 About the Food Coalition, and From South Park BID About Street Vending

An image attached to one of many CD13 emails discussing breaking up homeless encampments on Melrose, Vermont, Alvarado, Beverly, and some adjacent streets.
An image attached to one of many CD13 emails discussing breaking up homeless encampments on Melrose, Vermont, Alvarado, Beverly, and some adjacent streets.
Today I’m just announcing three new collections of emails, all of which can be found (for now) exclusively in our Archive.org collections. First we have emails to and from CD13 about homeless encampments on Vermont Avenue, Melrose, Beverly, Alvarado, and some adjacent streets. The Council District was involved with breaking up these encampments in March 2016 and these emails document the process. They also contain a lot of fodder for future requests, since some of them list specific document numbers for Bureau of Street Services and also Sanitation Department orders and reports. It’s almost as if no one at CD13 was aware that breaking up homeless encampments puts federal money in jeopardy.
Continue reading Many, Many New Emails from CD13 About Homeless Encampments, From CD4 About the Food Coalition, and From South Park BID About Street Vending