Tag Archives: Steven Whiddon

Crime Does Pay At City Hall: Anti-RV Resolution Introduced In Council This Morning At Behest of Media District BID Director Lisa Schechter, Acting in Apparent Violation of Her Post-Employment Lobbying Ban

RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue
RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue
This morning, CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell introduced a resolution seeking to impose restrictions on parking oversized vehicles in a semi-industrialized sliver of the Hollywood Media District BID located roughly between Cole Avenue and Vine Street west to east and Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue north to south. There is a never-ending flow of these seemingly innocuous items in the agendas of our esteemed Council, but I just happen to know an awful lot about the backstory to this one, which is anything but innocuous, actually, and is the subject of today’s post.

The Media District BID is particularly attractive to people living in RVs because it’s industrialized, so no night-time neighbors to annoy, and it’s close to the center of Hollywood. Especially on Lillian Way and its cross streets, Romaine, Willoughby, and Waring, there has been a thriving but quiet community of RV-dwellers for years on end. But the Media District BID hates it. They just can’t deal with it. For instance, see this email chain from March 2015 where Hollywood cop Julie Nony discusses how to get rid of them with erstwhile Media District BID director Steven Whiddon and a bunch of overprivileged proprietors who don’t understand the concept of public space. But, probably not surprisingly, Steven Whiddon was unable to orchestrate any lasting action.

RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue
RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue

So enter Lisa Schechter, employed by erstwhile CD4 rep Tom LaBonge until June 30, 2015. Sometime between then and October 2015 she was hired by the Media District to replace the departed but unlamented Whiddon. Very soon after that, in fact on November 5, 2015, Schechter and current Media District Board President Laurie Goldman met with O’Farrell’s Hollywood Field Deputy, Daniel Halden. Dan was kind enough to supply me with a copy of his notes from that meeting, wherein (on the second page) one can read the portentous words: “Oversized vehicles Resolution — MAP.” There’s no question that this meeting between Halden, Goldman, and Schechter, is the genesis of the resolution introduced this morning by Mitch O’Farrell.
Continue reading Crime Does Pay At City Hall: Anti-RV Resolution Introduced In Council This Morning At Behest of Media District BID Director Lisa Schechter, Acting in Apparent Violation of Her Post-Employment Lobbying Ban

Business Improvement Districts As A Force For White Supremacy in Twenty-First Century Los Angeles

This is the most obvious and least dangerous form in which white supremacy expresses itself.
This is the most obvious and least dangerous form in which white supremacy expresses itself.
My colleagues and I spill a lot of metaphorical ink referring to business improvement districts and their Boards of Directors as white supremacists, and we certainly stand by that position. However, it’s recently come to my attention that not everyone in our audience is familiar with the literal meaning of the phrase. Evidently it strikes some people as a generic, semantically empty insult, or else they’re confused by the fact that the phrase refers to at least two fairly distinct ideologies. Thus I thought it would be useful to explain in detail why BIDs are in a very literal sense white supremacist organizations.

First let’s get the definitions straight. As always, our friends at Wikipedia give us a good starting place. Their article on white supremacy tells us that the phrase has two principal meanings. The salient one for our purposes is that white supremacy is:

…a political ideology that perpetuates and maintains the social, political, historical and/or industrial domination by white people

It’s crucial to note that there’s nothing inherently racist about this kind of white supremacy.1 Now, the history of the racial segregation of real estate in Los Angeles is well-known, and Hollywood was at the forefront of it from the early years of the last century. What’s not so well understood is how racially segregated the commercial real estate market was. In fact2 it was certainly more segregated than residential real estate, since white people owned much of the commercial real estate even in areas of the City where nonwhites were allowed to own houses.3
Continue reading Business Improvement Districts As A Force For White Supremacy in Twenty-First Century Los Angeles

More Media District BID Documents Now Available

Captain John Irigoyen is watching you, so watch yourself!
Captain John Irigoyen is watching you, so watch yourself!
I have a few new documents from the Media District BID. First of all, the Board meeting minutes through August of 2015 are here. Minutes from various committee meetings in 2015 are here, and minutes from one very special executive committee meeting are here.

We’re also inaugurating a project to identify all the Media District security guards by name and image, parallel to the one we’re doing for the Andrews International BID Patrol. I’ve started a page for this project. There’s not much there now other than a list of all the current green shirts by name, but I hope to add more in the future.

Read on for a little bit of what passes for metadata analysis around here.
Continue reading More Media District BID Documents Now Available

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!

Property Owner and Unwilling Media District BID Member Toni Werk Wonders Where Her $12,000 Went. We Have the Answer!

Media District BID property owner Toni Werk's parcel at 6065 Melrose Avenue. She's paid over $12,000 into the BID for this piece of land. Where has it all gone? (Image via Google Street View).
On October 7, 2014, Hollywood Media District BID property owner Toni Werk wrote to Jim Omahen, HMD operations director, about her parcel at 6065 Melrose Avenue. The gist of her complaint is this:

For the more than $12,000 that I have contributed to the BID, I, or my tenant, have not received one word of promotion in your newsletter. During business hours, my tenant says he has seen your bike patrol only a few times. And during after hours, there is no one staying on our property to phone your Security Patrol if there is an issue. As I originally did not want to participate in the bid [
sic], and I voted no against it again, I have been forced to pay a tax that has not been any benefit to me or my tenant.

Indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon running over that long list of MBA jargon in his mind, because it WILL be on the test!
Indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon running over that long list of MBA jargon in his mind, because it WILL be on the test!

Jim, rightfully, forwarded this complaint on to his boss, the jolly but rather knuckle-headed Steven Whiddon, who replied, in characteristically evasive1 fashion, replied:

I am happy to report that Captain John Iragoyan [
sic] and myself [sic] completed a site visit of your property 6065 Melrose Avenue. We spoke with your leasee, [sic] Tom Pena about the issues you stated in the email below. We made sure he understands we are here to serve and has all of our contact information. He understands that he can contact us at any time to assist with the issues below. …

Thank you again for reaching out to us.2

Notice how Steven doesn’t mention the money at all. Read on to see just where DID that $12,000 go…
Continue reading Property Owner and Unwilling Media District BID Member Toni Werk Wonders Where Her $12,000 Went. We Have the Answer!

Mitch O’Farrell’s Abortive 2013 Conspiracy to Destroy the GWHFC: “The food line really has to go.” Rick Howard: How Many More Will the GWHFC Murder?!?

 Mitch O'Farrell giving a performative demonstration of the deep folkloric truth that when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
Mitch O’Farrell giving a performative demonstration of the deep folkloric truth that when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
As you may already know, in 2013, a baying, pitchfork-and-torch wielding, mob of Hollywood business owners and a few residents flipped the fuck out about the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition and tried to get the city of Los Angeles to outlaw the free sharing of food in public. In order to better understand the mindset of these people you may read this set of 2013 emails to/from Council District 13 on the matter. O’Farrell, as willing a servant of the power elite as his predecessor Eric, not only opined that the GWHFC had to go, but instructed his staff to boast about his attacks on common decency “via press or social media.”

The main theme of these mobbies is their own fear but, as Robin DiAngelo has sagely noted, “whites often confuse comfort with safety.” For instance, read Alexander Polinsky, son of Paula Greenfield, prime mover of the George Harrison memorial tree in Griffith Park, as he trembles in fear of “scary psychotic homeless that terrorize us…the worst kind of people, people we worked hard to avoid by buying nice homes and paying taxes.” Polinsky is even terrified of GWHFC’s fairly saintly organizer, Ted Landreth, who, according to Polinsky, “…likes to tell people he was a marine, implying that he is able to kill and be tough instead of actually being compassionate…”

Rick Howard, Chief Operating Officer of Occidental Entertainment Group, HMD BID Board member, and howling-mob leader. The bloody foam on his slavering maw has evidently been photoshopped away.

Or see how Rick Howard, COO and VP of Occidental Entertainment, member of the board of directors of the Hollywood Media District BID, and master of delusio-inflammatory rhetoric, blamed the Food Coalition for a 2013 stabbing murder on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He warns all and sundry that obviously there will be many more murders if the feeding is allowed to continue:

Notably, not even the recent murder of a young woman on the Walk of Fame was sufficient to shake our local Council representatives into action, which is all the more disturbing since it is now known that the assailant formerly worked at the feeding program. … Was it not a matter of time before such a tragic event such as this took place? Must it happen again before someone acts?1

Not one for whom a rhetorical trope readily loses the freshness of its first bloom, Rick tells O’Farrell et al. in another email that

[the homeless] wander our streets and defecate, urinate, vomit, discard used hypodermic needles and condoms, set fire to trash bins, break into cars, harass and assault people—and now, as you know, one of the food line’s volunteers recently murdered a young woman over a dollar.

These guys are quite voluble, and there’s bunches more of this blethering in the emails. You can read it yourself if you care to. Sane people delete emails like this without reading, let alone acting on, their demands. But not Mitch O’Farrell!
Continue reading Mitch O’Farrell’s Abortive 2013 Conspiracy to Destroy the GWHFC: “The food line really has to go.” Rick Howard: How Many More Will the GWHFC Murder?!?

Hollywood Media District BID’s Shocking Conspiracy to Violate Lavan Injunction on Willoughby Avenue Abetted by Highest Levels of LA City Government

Homeless encampment on Cole Avenue south of Willoughby Avenue
Homeless encampment on Cole Avenue south of Willoughby Avenue in November, 2014
We have written before about the January 2015 conspiracy comprising indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon and various city officials, including LA City Council District 13 field deputy Dan Halden, to (probably illegally, certainly immorally) use the threat of powerwashing sidewalks outside of the Public Storage building at the corner of Willoughby and Cole as a means of removing homeless people and their possessions, in violation of both human decency and the Lavan injunction. Today we have an email chain from November 2014 which illuminates the origins of the conspiracy and also demonstrates that LA City Council District 4 operatives as well were involved in the furtherance of these misdeeds.

Indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon, wearing his sunglasses after the manner of his tribe.
The face of conspiracy: Indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon, wearing his sunglasses after the manner of his tribe.

We join the sordid story on November 6, 2014, when someone named Marvin Cruz emailed Universal Protective Services security wallah John Irigoyen, CC-ing hmd.acevedo@yahoo.com, sgt.m4te@yahoo.com, and someone named Damien Reed, stating somewhat obscurely that:

There is alot [sic] of trash dumping here accross [sic] from 832 cole( public storage side). Also multiple 647I’s that block the aide [sic] walk. Can u [sic] contact HBT for the trash and maybe also lapd to come andtake [sic] contact with the idas.

Subseqently Captain John forwarded this report at 1:05 p.m. on November 7th to Steven Whiddon with the message “here is what you requested” prepended. A little over an hour later the conspiracy began to take shape.
Continue reading Hollywood Media District BID’s Shocking Conspiracy to Violate Lavan Injunction on Willoughby Avenue Abetted by Highest Levels of LA City Government

Bro-fessional Politico Steven Whiddon Coordinates Media District Effort to Powerwash Homeless Away from Willoughby Avenue

Clean shiny sidewalks in front of Public Storage at 6202 Willoughby, devoid of ficus debris and human debris, courtesy of Hollywood Beautification Team Obersturmbannführerin Sharyn Romano and her sprayhouse gang
Clean shiny sidewalks in front of Public Storage at 6202 Willoughby, devoid of ficus debris and human debris, courtesy of Hollywood Beautification Team Obersturmbannführerin Sharyn Romano and her sprayhouse gang
The pressure washer, a useful tool invented in 1927,1 for cleaning gunk off of stuff and powerful enough to strip human flesh off the bone,2 is a useful tool indeed. But as the esteemed Ani DiFranco reminds us, every tool is a weapon if you hold it right.

We are privileged today to present a series of emails between Hollywood Media District Bro-fessional Executroid Director Steven Whiddon and a typical gang of Los Angeles Power Elitrons, including LA City Council District 13 field deputy Dan Halden, in which they plot and plan to use weekly pressure cleaning of the sidewalks outside the Public Storage at 6202 Willoughby Avenue to force homeless people to move elsewhere. You can download a PDF of the exchange here.

The dirty sidewalk starts at the property line of 6202 Willoughby Avenue, proving definitively that the BID's purpose is not to clean the sidewalks, but to force the homeless to relocate
The dirty sidewalk starts at the property line of 6202 Willoughby Avenue, proving definitively that the BID’s purpose is not to clean the sidewalks, but to force the homeless to relocate
Read and despair as Steven Whiddon states definitively that the purpose of the whole plot is “…to address the issues that are affecting the neighborhood.” That might not sound like a smoking gun, but it is. Steven Whiddon is famous for his euphemysterious locutional style. He’s been known to refer to homeless people as “activities,” and here he’s referring to them as “issues.” It’s nothing more than the incomparable Whiddonian style at work. But perhaps you require more proof that he doesn’t mean clean sidewalks when he says “issues?”

Gaze upon the photo above-left. The ficus grunge starts where Public Storage’s property line stops. No one brought those machines out there to clean the sidewalks just to get the sidewalks clean. More proof, if necessary, can be found in Halden’s January 13, 2015 email, in which he specifies that the notices to be hung in advance of the pressure washing ought to state “Please remove all belongings if you do not want them to get wet or possibly destroyed.”
Continue reading Bro-fessional Politico Steven Whiddon Coordinates Media District Effort to Powerwash Homeless Away from Willoughby Avenue

Christmas Comes Early for Apple Fanboy Steven Whiddon

Apple fanboy Steven Whiddon wondering if he's going to get a MacBook Pro or a lump of coal
Apple fanboy Steven Whiddon wondering if he’s going to get a MacBook Pro or a lump of coal
About 22% (seriously, almost 14 minutes) of the October 23, 2014, meeting of the Hollywood Media District BID Board of Directors was devoted to an interminable discussion about buying new computers for the BID’s secret headquarters on Highland Avenue. You don’t have to watch the whole damn thing, and we have links to various subclips after the break. The upshot is that Steven asks the Board for $7000 to buy a MacBook Pro, a Mac desktop, and an iPad and they vote to give it to him.
Continue reading Christmas Comes Early for Apple Fanboy Steven Whiddon

Steve Whiddon, Looking to Destroy Bus Shelters, Instead Finds Epic Ethnomethodological Fail

Harold Garfinkel righteously, like Peter Pan, moved to rapture by his own brilliance
Vexatiously intelligent sociologist Harold Garfinkel righteously, like Peter Pan, moved to rapture by his own brilliance

Right here you can listen to the following words of wisdom from the October 23, 2014 meeting of the Hollywood Media District BID Board of Directors:

Mike Malick: Uhhh….OK. Bus stop shelter removal.
Steve Whiddon: Yeah, I think I wanted to take…uh…the temperature in the room for two…um…bus stop shelters that are…um…close to Highland and the Kodak Building. I know that they seem to be [unintelligible] placed for…uh…for some activity, um, [unintelligible] even waiting for the bus, so, have you guys discussed this before?
Unidentified Interlocutor: No.
Continue reading Steve Whiddon, Looking to Destroy Bus Shelters, Instead Finds Epic Ethnomethodological Fail