Tag Archives: Streets and Highways Code 36600 et seq.

Is Mike Bonin A Liar Or A Fool? Which Is Holly Wolcott? Tara Devine? They’ve Acted As If There Was No Effective Way To Remove Residential Properties From The Venice Beach BID Without Rezoning When They Must Or Should Have Known That State Law Explicitly Empowers City Council To Do So Unilaterally

Did Mike Bonin lie about his ability to remove properties from the Venice Beach BID? Or did he just not care enough to read the law governing BID formation? Or both?
One of the most contentious issues in the very, very contentious formation of a business improvement district in Venice has been the existence of properties with commercial zoning that are used solely for residential purposes that were included in the BID and therefore assessed. This is the basis of a recently filed lawsuit against the City as well as a significant number of other protests against the BID.

For instance, in May 2016, Venice homeowner1 Louis Traeger wrote to the City protesting the inclusion of his home in the BID. On June 1, 2016 Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott answered him, stating:

In address of your request to remove said property from the proposed Business Improvement District, the City Clerk does not have the authority to remove or add properties in a Business Improvement District. However, we will forward your request and this information to the Engineer conducting the survey and analysis for the creation of the Venice Beach Business Improvement District.

Further, you requested notice of any hearing concerning the approval of the Venice Beach Business Improvement District in order to submit your written opposition. If your property is ultimately included within the Business Improvement District boundaries, a notice of the City Council hearing date will be mailed to you. At the hearing, an opportunity will be provided to protest the establishment.

Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott whispering secrets to Councildude Mitch Englander on November 8, 2016. She tells the truth, and nothing but the truth, but no how, no way, are you telling the whole truth, Ms. Holly.

As far as I can tell2 what Holly Wolcott says is the truth and it’s nothing but the truth, but it is in absolutely no way at all the whole truth. Her statement that “the City Clerk does not have the authority to remove or add properties in a Business Improvement District” is true. When she follows it up with a statement that she will “forward your request and this information to the Engineer conducting the survey and analysis” she is certainly creating the impression that ONLY the engineer is empowered to remove properties. This is not true. It’s really badly not true, as I will demonstrate below.

On July 27, 2016 Holly Wolcott wrote to Venice homeowners William and Laura Kuel making essentially the same argument, but with this additional twist:3
Continue reading Is Mike Bonin A Liar Or A Fool? Which Is Holly Wolcott? Tara Devine? They’ve Acted As If There Was No Effective Way To Remove Residential Properties From The Venice Beach BID Without Rezoning When They Must Or Should Have Known That State Law Explicitly Empowers City Council To Do So Unilaterally

California Government Code Section 1222 Is A New (To Us) Governmental Integrity Law Of Which Chad Molnar’s CPRA Shenanigans Constitute A Violation, Making Him Not Only Unethical But An Actual Criminal And Potentially Even Subject To Citizen’s Arrest!!

Chad Molnar in June 2016, just smiling away because it hasn't yet occurred to him that he is going to jail.
Chad Molnar in June 2016, just smiling away because it hasn’t yet occurred to him that he is going to jail.
Perhaps you’ve been following along with our LAMC 49.5.5(A) project, in which we turn various City officials and employees in to the LA City Ethics Commission for violating that most lovely government accountability ordinance, LAMC 49.5.5(A) by misusing their positions in various ways. Well, just recently, via the fine folks at the Coalition to Preserve L.A., I learned of a possibly even more funner law, which may allow City employees not only to get fined by the CEC for violating CPRA, but actually locked up for it! Ladies and gentlemen, loyal MK.Org readers, may I present to you the stunning law known to the world as California Government Code Section 1222, which states in full:

Every wilful omission to perform any duty enjoined by law upon any public officer, or person holding any public trust or employment, where no special provision is made for the punishment of such delinquency, is punishable as a misdemeanor.

The potential here is astounding. You see, there is “no special provision…made for the punishment of” a failure to comply with CPRA. This is in contrast to, e.g., the Brown Act, which does contain a clause making certain kinds of violations misdemeanors.1 However, the duty to comply with CPRA is “enjoined by law upon” public officers. For instance, the California Constitution at Article I, section 3(b) states pretty unequivocally that:

In order to ensure public access to the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies, as specified in paragraph (1), each local agency is hereby required to comply with the California Public Records Act …

Now, this law requires2 that the failure to act be wilful. But, of course, that’s where we have Chad Molnar dead to rights. If you didn’t read the whole story, you can at least read the smoking gun, in which Chad Molnar actually states explicitly that he’s not going to comply with CPRA and that he doesn’t think he has to comply. And note that this is not just him not complying with some vague part of the law, proof of violation of which would require a fact-finder, but him not complying with objectively clear, explicitly mandated, response deadlines. He just flat-out says he’s not going to respond as required. It’s hard to imagine a more wilful violation than that.

So anyway, as soon as possible, I hope this weekend, I’m going to write up a complaint and figure out what to do with it. Perhaps I’ll try the neighborhood prosecutor in Venice. They do handle misdemeanors, after all. This probably won’t work so well, and then I’ll send it to Jackie Lacey’s Public Integrity Division. I’ll keep you up-to-date. And if you’re still interested, turn the page for even more wildly uninformed speculation.3
Continue reading California Government Code Section 1222 Is A New (To Us) Governmental Integrity Law Of Which Chad Molnar’s CPRA Shenanigans Constitute A Violation, Making Him Not Only Unethical But An Actual Criminal And Potentially Even Subject To Citizen’s Arrest!!

Miranda Paster Finally Gives Up Venice Beach BID Property Owners Mailing List! Five Months Of Nagging Pays Off!! This Has Huge Implications For Future Anti-BID Activism!!!

Set free by the truth to fly high on Venice Beach!!
Set free by the truth to fly high on Venice Beach!!
If you’ve been following the story of the Venice Beach BID here, you’ll recall that no one involved wants to give me a copy of the mailing list used to send out the various legally required notices to the property owners. You can check the background here and another episode in the saga here. Well, amazingly, my last argument was effective, and after what I think1 was months worth of noodging, Miranda Paster finally gave in and sent me an actual mailing list with actual mailing addresses of the property owners.

This is huge, so I’m linking to it again:

Anyway, I hope the list will be useful to Venice activists in their anti-BID campaign. Not that many property owners even voted, so it’s possible that sending letters encouraging anti-BID property owners to vote will be enough to sink the BID’s next iteration. If you’re interested in the technical details of the differences between this ultimately successful request and my earlier unsuccessful requests, turn the page and read on!
Continue reading Miranda Paster Finally Gives Up Venice Beach BID Property Owners Mailing List! Five Months Of Nagging Pays Off!! This Has Huge Implications For Future Anti-BID Activism!!!

LAFLA Questions Legality of Venice Beach BID Approval Process in Letter to Mike Feuer, Holly Wolcott. Ballot Tabulation Published By City, Demonstrating Anti-Democratic Nature of BID Process. CD11 and Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Play Favorites With Information Access

LEGAL-AID-FOUNDATION-OF-LOS-ANGELES1Today two interesting items hit the Venice Beach BID Council File. First there is a letter from LAFLA Attorney Shayla Myers demonstrating that the City did not follow the strictly mandated procedure for hearings prior to establishing an assessment district. The issue is that Council President Herb Wesson cut off public comment without allowing everyone present to be heard. This is completely acceptable under the Brown Act, which regulates general public meetings in California. In the cases covered by that law, agencies can put reasonable limits on public comment. However, the hearings that must be held before BIDs can be established are described in the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994, which at section 36623 requires that the “notice and protest and hearing procedure shall comply with Section 53753 of the Government Code.” This section requires…well, I’m going to let Myers explain:
Continue reading LAFLA Questions Legality of Venice Beach BID Approval Process in Letter to Mike Feuer, Holly Wolcott. Ballot Tabulation Published By City, Demonstrating Anti-Democratic Nature of BID Process. CD11 and Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Play Favorites With Information Access