Tag Archives: Streets and Highways Code 36670

What Passes For Wit Among Zillionaires — South Park BID Board Members Paul Keller And Bob Buente Mockingly Refer To Downtown Homeless Encampments As “Bombay” And “Calcutta” — Super-Genius Paul Keller Proposes Illegally Using BID Staff Outside BID Borders To Clean Encampments — Has To Be Talked Down Off That Particular Ledge By BID Zeck Dreck Ellen Salome Riotto Who — Despite Her Devotion To Her Satanic DTLA Masters — At Least Has Some Goddamn Sense — Also Riotto Reveals Hitherto Unknown Illegal Downtown BID Anti-Homeless Intelligence Gathering Conspiracy

Last Thursday morning off I went to the concrete canyons of Downtown Los Angeles to sit through yet another interminable gathering of the Board of Directors of the South Park BID and, just for you, dear reader, I have posted video of the whole damn thing both here on YouTube and here on Archive.org. And it was mostly more of the same old bad BIDness, but without a quorum, so no action was taken.

There were a few interesting episodes though, and I’ll be writing about one or more of them soon enough, but the text for today’s sermon is this little hissy fit, pitched by none other than the finest legal mind of his generation, that is to say self-proclaimed schmuck Paul Keller, accompanied by the narcissistic back-up harmony vocal stylings of the BID’s own Uncle Fester,1 which is to say Bob Freaking Buente. There is, of course, a transcription of the whole damn thing after the break, and juicy quotes interspersed throughout the article here.

Paul Keller wants to talk about … underpasses. The ones he drives under when he gets off the freeway in the morning. They’re filled with homeless people. Paul Keller doesn’t like this. Bob Buente reminds him that in zillionairese underpasses are referred to as “Bombay” and/or “Calcutta.”2 What he really seems to hate about them is that (a) they are offensive to his finely honed zillionaire aesthetics and (b) he can’t ignore them because there’s a traffic signal there: “But unfortunately the light causes you to be in Bombay if it’s red.” The problem evidently is that CalTrans has jurisdiction over underpasses so the usual zillionaire methods of getting shit done, like e.g. giving José Huizar another 700 bucks, aren’t effective.

Turn the page to learn what the other problem is, how Ellen Salome Riotto schooled Paul Keller a little bit but he just won’t listen and wants her to break the law anyway, and the big reveal! All the Downtown BIDs are compiling anti-homeless intelligence which they’re evidently going to pass on to Miguel Santiago, possibly in anticipation of his becoming CD14 repster in 2020 because José Huizar’s rapey incontinence has effectively torpedoed the political ambitions of the other Huizar, his hand-picked successor, that is, of course, Richelle.
Continue reading What Passes For Wit Among Zillionaires — South Park BID Board Members Paul Keller And Bob Buente Mockingly Refer To Downtown Homeless Encampments As “Bombay” And “Calcutta” — Super-Genius Paul Keller Proposes Illegally Using BID Staff Outside BID Borders To Clean Encampments — Has To Be Talked Down Off That Particular Ledge By BID Zeck Dreck Ellen Salome Riotto Who — Despite Her Devotion To Her Satanic DTLA Masters — At Least Has Some Goddamn Sense — Also Riotto Reveals Hitherto Unknown Illegal Downtown BID Anti-Homeless Intelligence Gathering Conspiracy

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City Clerk Holly Wolcott’s New-Found Willingness To Enforce BID Contracts Revealed As The City Of Los Angeles Put The Venice Beach BID On Blast For Contract Violations In March 2018 — Wolcott Threatened A Disestablishment Hearing If Missing Material Weren’t Submitted By Deadline — Tara Devine Was All Not My Fault, Everybody’s Fault But Mine — BID Analyst Rita Moreno Was All Shut It, Tara, Obviously You’re A Liar — On April 30, 2018 Tara Devine Claimed That All The City’s Demands Were Met — Maybe So, Tara, But You’re Still A Liar!

Well, friends, if you’ve been following the saga of the Venice Beach BID for what seems like forever but has only been at least in the most recent iteration about two years, you’ll know all about how BID ED Tara Freaking Devine is not only overpaid as a BID consultant but she’s a liar and a damned liar and a lawbreaker and a damned lawbreaker and it took her and her white supremacist board of directors freaking forever to get their BID up and running.

Now, this kind of behavior on the part of a BID is bad enough, but from the City’s point of view the only really bad part is that the BID started 18 months ago and they’ve been collecting money from the property owners and they’re not spending it on the activities they’re meant to spend it on. Oh yes, and BIDs are also required to submit quarterly reports to the City and, this last by the actual state law regulating BIDs, an annual planning report to the City as well.1

And you surely won’t be surprised to learn that by March 19 of this year the damn BID hadn’t done any of that stuff at all. But what is surprising is that the City of Los Angeles decided to actually enforce their contract and the law. In furtherance of this worthy goal City Clerk Holly Wolcott sent VBBID boss honcho Mark Sokol a zinger of a letter stating that the BID was out of compliance and they had better get their act together quickly or else the City was going to hold a hearing to disestablish the BID per the PBID law at §36670.

Maybe this marks the start of a new policy, where the City of LA will actually encourage or maybe even force BIDs to follow the damn law. They’ve been absolutely unwilling to do this when it comes to CPRA compliance, but more recently have shown some teeth e.g. with respect to the contractual requirement to publish newsletters. Anyway, whatever’s going on there’s a transcription of Wolcott’s letter after the break and, as an extra special bonus, some discussion of some astonishingly whiny emails by Tara Devine about the noncompliance letter.
Continue reading City Clerk Holly Wolcott’s New-Found Willingness To Enforce BID Contracts Revealed As The City Of Los Angeles Put The Venice Beach BID On Blast For Contract Violations In March 2018 — Wolcott Threatened A Disestablishment Hearing If Missing Material Weren’t Submitted By Deadline — Tara Devine Was All Not My Fault, Everybody’s Fault But Mine — BID Analyst Rita Moreno Was All Shut It, Tara, Obviously You’re A Liar — On April 30, 2018 Tara Devine Claimed That All The City’s Demands Were Met — Maybe So, Tara, But You’re Still A Liar!

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Burbank BID Violated Brown Act In 2016 By Voting To Donate $50,000 To A Political Campaign Without Having Agendized The Matter — Local Activist David Spell Calls For Disestablishment — Burbank City Attorney Forced To Address The Question Of Whether BID Assessments Are Public Funds — Answers With A Resounding “Maybe”!


So it turns out that a major scandal involving a business improvement district has been brewing up in Burbank since September 2016. The short version of the story is that a Burbank BID violated the Brown Act and may have violated State laws forbidding the use of public funds in political campaigns. A local activist, David Spell, turned them in to the LA County DA and the Fair Political Practices Commission.1

In December 2016 the Burbank City Attorney published a fascinating report on the episode,2 which may shine a great deal of light on the legal status of BID assessments as public funds. Furthermore, Spell called for the Burbank City Council to hold a disestablishment hearing as required by Streets and Highways Code §36670(a)(1).3

If this money does turn out to be public, a lot of really interesting consequences would ensue, which is another part of what makes this episode so important. As always when BIDs and the law intersect, the details are unavoidably technical, which is no doubt why the L.A. Times skips over them and also why I’m hiding them below the fold!
Continue reading Burbank BID Violated Brown Act In 2016 By Voting To Donate $50,000 To A Political Campaign Without Having Agendized The Matter — Local Activist David Spell Calls For Disestablishment — Burbank City Attorney Forced To Address The Question Of Whether BID Assessments Are Public Funds — Answers With A Resounding “Maybe”!

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Why It’s Quite Likely That Blair Besten Broke A Number Of Laws By Lobbying The City Of Los Angeles Over Skid Row On Behalf Of The HCBID Board Of Directors In November 2016 And Arguably Even Committed A Misdemeanor

Blair Besten rocking the Pharcyde.
So a couple weeks ago I wrote about an episode in November 2016 when Blair Besten, executive directrix of the good old Historic Core BID, at the behest of her Board of Directors, lobbied the City of Los Angeles about incentives for Skid Row development which included a seemingly endless list of wet fever dreams like no taxes ever, no height limits, no required affordable housing, and so on. Well, then someone posted my post to the Facebook asking, among other things, if Blair Besten’s lobbying was even legal. The post unleashed a deluge of stranger-danger visits to our cozy and haimish little blog and the usual slew of idiotic comments by the usual slew of unselfaware idiot commentators over on the Facebook itself.

Well, Mom had a favorite saying about wrestling with a pig, and that goes doubletime for arguing with the Facebook commentariat. So we all just ignored the whole mishegoss until, as will sometimes happen, it occurred to me that one of the most ignorant offensive mansplainy clueless wrong-headed imaginary-internet-lawyerly comments of all would provide a perfect foil for a post that I had been meaning to write for a while now anyway, and that’s how we ended up right here and now, friends.

The dimwitted commenter asked1 the OP: “What specific actions of hers do you think are of questionable legality?” This is one of them Internet comments that’s supposed to make the reader say something like “Hmmm…. now that I read that incisive question I can see that I really am a foolish dupe after all and the only reason I even had an opinion is because no very smart fellow ever challenged me… OK, I retract every idea I have ever had!!

However, as it happens, there are a number of ways in which Blair Besten’s specific action of lobbying the City on behalf of her employers with respect to development conditions on Skid Row violated various laws. For better or for worse, the discussion is unavoidably technical, and you gotta turn the page if you wanna read it!
Continue reading Why It’s Quite Likely That Blair Besten Broke A Number Of Laws By Lobbying The City Of Los Angeles Over Skid Row On Behalf Of The HCBID Board Of Directors In November 2016 And Arguably Even Committed A Misdemeanor

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Urban Place Consulting Set To Earn $55,712.20 For Dealing With The 2017/2018 Fashion District BID Renewal Process According To Contract, Which May Also Shed Light On The Intersection Between BID Consultancy And L.A.’s Muncipal Lobbying Ordinance

The Fashion District BID in Downtown Los Angeles is set to expire at the end of 2018. This means that they’ll be collecting petitions roughly in the first quarter of 2018 and going to City Council approximately in the Summer of 2018. The process is complicated for property-based BIDs and usually requires a consultant, and the consultant has to start early. The Fashion District is using Urban Place Consulting.1 Work began on the process in January 2017.

Thanks to the competence, kindness, and evident commitment to transparency of the Fashion District BID’s executive director, Rena Masten Leddy,2 we have copies of (at least most of) the FDBID’s contract with UPC3 as well as the first three months worth of invoices. You can get these:

Crucially, the contract reveals that the Fashion District will pay UPC more than $55,000 over the course of the two year process. The contract is supposed to include a schedule of hourly rates and the invoices are supposed to include an hourly breakdown, but, at least so far, they do not.

Apart from the general interest created by the essential role that BID renewal plays in the life cycle of BIDs, this kind of data is also crucial to my ongoing study of the intersection between the BID renewal process in Los Angeles and the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance. Turn the page for a brief discussion of those issues as well as a brief outline of the renewal process itself.
Continue reading Urban Place Consulting Set To Earn $55,712.20 For Dealing With The 2017/2018 Fashion District BID Renewal Process According To Contract, Which May Also Shed Light On The Intersection Between BID Consultancy And L.A.’s Muncipal Lobbying Ordinance

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Open Letter To Holly Wolcott And Miranda Paster Regarding Nicole Shahenian’s Violation Of LAMC 48.04(B) In 2014

Here’s a letter I sent this morning to Holly Wolcott and Miranda Paster about the fact that East Hollywood BID Director Nicole Shahenian appears to have violated LAMC 48.04(B) by stating that the EHBID’s 2015 Annual Planning Report had been prepared at a Board meeting on December 29, 2014, when in reality no such meeting took place. Also maybe look at the actual complaint I filed with the Ethics Commission.

The main points are that the Clerk ought to institute some kind of oversight to make sure that this nonsense stops happening. The Ethics Commission will rule on Nicole Shahenian’s violation of the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance, but that only applies because she was coincidentally registered as a lobbyist in 2014. Most BID directors are not registered lobbyists,1 but many of them apparently lie about the APR approval process. This could potentially create dire consequences due to the fact that, e.g., BIDs can actually be disestablished for such transgressions, whether or not the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance is involved. Anyway, as I said, here is the letter as a PDF, and turn the page for a transcription.
Continue reading Open Letter To Holly Wolcott And Miranda Paster Regarding Nicole Shahenian’s Violation Of LAMC 48.04(B) In 2014

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How to Destroy a Business Improvement District in California: A Theory

This would be an effective, emotionally satisfying, and poetically just way to get rid of business improvement districts, but I'm hoping for something a little more environmentally friendly.
This would be an effective, emotionally satisfying, and poetically just way to get rid of business improvement districts, but I’m hoping for something a little more environmentally friendly.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not a lawyer. But I’m friends with some lawyers. More than zero of them did not laugh out loud at the idea you’re about to read. That’s all I got.

Business improvement districts in California are made possible by the Property & Business Improvement District Law of 1994.1 It’s worth reading, or at least skimming through, because there’s gold in them thar hills! For instance, consider Section 36670(a)(1), which states:

36670.(a) Any district established or extended pursuant to the provisions of this part … may be disestablished by resolution by the city council in either of the following circumstances:

(1) If the city council finds there has been misappropriation of funds, malfeasance, or a violation of law in connection with the management of the district, it shall notice a hearing on disestablishment.

Do you see the potential in that statement? The fact that it’s a tool for laying waste the BIDs of Los Angeles like so many Philistines? It’s a little hard to understand statutes, but here’s a clue: when they say “shall” they mean “must,” not “can.” Now turn the page to find out why this little statute, if not more powerful than Doug Henning and his sparkly rainbow suspenders as pictured above, is possibly as effective a BID repellent but much, much more emotionally satisfying than mere poofsly-woofsly magical annihilation.
Continue reading How to Destroy a Business Improvement District in California: A Theory

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