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.
In February 2017, California State Assemblymember Rob Bonta of Oakland introduced AB-1479, which would have amended the California Public Records Act to allow judges to assess civil penalties of between $1,000 and $5,000 to punish flagrant CPRA violations. The bill sailed through the Assembly and almost made it through the Senate until a shitstorm of opposition, including from many Los Angeles BIDs, some of whom cited this blog as part of their parade of horribles, hired high-powered lobbyists Gonzalez, Hunter, Quintana, & Cruz and thereby sank the most important part of the bill, leaving only a tragic and fairly useless husk.
According to a staffer of Bonta’s who is in charge of this bill it’s essentially irredeemable this term, but they’re going to try again next year. Also, she was kind enough to send me a huge selection of letters received, pro and con, including a bunch from many of our Los Angeles BID friends. If we can’t beat them, well, at least we can publish their ravings and then mock them, right? The whole collection is available on Archive.Org. You should definitely read through it if you’re interested. The support letters are fabulous, but I don’t have time to discuss them here.
Greetings, friends! If you’ve been wondering what you were going to do this morning after finishing off the Times crossword2 here are a bunch of new public records for your reading pleasure. There’s no single document here that’s mind-blowingly important, but, as I have mentioned many and many a time, we all are strong believers around here in the Mosaic Theory of Intelligence Gathering, and these are just more puzzle pieces, some of them quite important qua puzzle pieces!3
Assorted Fashion District Emails 2017 — These are emails to/from people at the Fashion District BID and various other correspondents. There are no real blockbusters here compared to, e.g., last month’s momentous release of Skid Row Neighborhood Council emails, but there is some interesting stuff. Perhaps most interesting is this set, which includes a bunch of conspiratorial nonsense from the Central City Association as well as a detailed report-out from the BID’s Board retreat in March. This latter document will certainly turn out to be essential in at least one project I’m pursuing in relation to lobbying by BIDs, a sadly and almost surely illegally unregulated activity.
Yesterday, after numerous failed attempts on her part,2 Suzanne Holley of Carol Schatzie’s baby-doll of a Downtown Center BID, sent me a bunch of emails between her staff and the LAPD. You can get all of these at Archive.Org in various useful formats.3 Amongst these was yet another copy of Eugene Shin’s email to all BIDs directing them to get their security patrols registered with the Police Commission.
Recall that I’ve been tracking the hysterical, irrational opposition of LA’s business improvement districts to the ongoing process of legalizing (some aspects of) street vending in the City since the Spring of 2015. A truly astonishing level of bitching and moaning in 2015 stalled out the whole process for most of 2016 because, I believe, everyone was too freaking sick of the whining and the carefully orchestrated lying on any number of occasions and the City just needed a rest. Until the November election of Donald Trump and his subsequent threats to deport essentially anyone, U.S. citizen or not, who’d ever smiled while thinking of eating a taco spurred the Council into action on at least the small part (small but in no way insignificant) of the plan to decriminalize illegal street vending so that, no matter how much trouble the zillionaires might cause the heladeros, at least they wouldn’t be subject to arrest and subsequent deportation. That bit seemed urgent enough to pass Council outright, and even the anti-vending forces of the zillionaire elite seemed to realize that they were just going to be exposed as the nasty little mean creeps that they are if they fought back on this particular issue. However, the Council put off acting on an actual legalization framework until later.
But recall, as I reported in January, the instructions for the report-back were altered from the original, and quite sensible,4 request for
A process to create special vending districts to be initiated by Council, the Board of Public Works, or petition (with signatures from 20 percent of property owners or businesses in the proposed district), based on legitimate public health, safety and welfare concerns that are unique to specific neighborhoods with special circumstances.
to a request for language
Providing the City Council the ability to opt out of certain streets by Council action.
For a brief moment this morning, I was worried that it’s a bad thing that my coverage of the Pacific Palisades BID, initiated mainly because of a confluence of my interest in CD11 and the fact that the criminal intransigence of Mike Bonin’s staff has made it essentially impossible for me to get records directly from them, is tending fairly unexpectedly towards the navel-gaze, self-reference, point-is-to-understand-the-world, nerdview rather than towards the outward-looking, the-point-is-to-change-it focus which is somewhat of an ideal around here. That anxiety took me about 35 seconds to get over, so we’re going meta again this morning sans apologia.1
In any case, whatever her manifold faults as a CPRA client may be, Laurie Sale, executive directrix of the Palisades BID, is at least a reliable source of minutes and agendas. You may recall that she was previously kind enough to send me the PPBID’s 2016 minutes and agendas, and this weekend she sent me the 2017 minutes and agendas through February. There’s some interesting stuff in there, primarily about street vending, which I will write on quite soon. The minutes also suggest that CD11 field deputy Sharon Shapiro2 is an actual member of the PPBID’s Board of Directors. I’ll be looking into this, not least because it’s reminiscent of Debbie Dyner Harris’s ill-fated attempt to nab a voting seat for CD11 on the Board of the Venice Beach Property Owners Association, which was slapped down ignominiously by City Attorney Mike Feuer as a conflict of interest.
But never mind that for now. The text for today’s sermon is this little slab of nonsense, found in the BID’s minutes for February 1, 2017:
BID received requests for public records – copies of meeting minutes, agenda, emails back and forth within the City, etc. from a gentleman who is requesting this from many BIDs. Elliot made a motion to retain attorney not to exceed $4,000. Rick seconded, all approved, motion carried. In the event that this person wants copies made, then we need to request payment. Rick motioned: “we don’t want to make it difficult for him, but to rather provide him every access to public records according to the strictest rules of law so that it doesn’t provide any financial detriment to the property owners of our business improvement district.” Susan seconded. Unanimously approved, motion carries.
Oh dear friends, what a long story I have to tell you this afternoon! And I hope it will repay (or more than) your attention.3 It’s all about how Kerry Morrison is willing to make her job and the jobs of her minions progressively more impossible for absolutely no better reason than to thwart my research. I’ve written about various stages in this process before, and here’s a brief timeline:
March 2016 — Kerry Morrison amends HPOA document retention policy to require destruction of emails after 90 days unless intentionally kept, unilaterally, retroactively, and illegally redefines emails as not subject to CPRA.
June 2016 — Kerry Morrison rewrites contract with Andrews International so that A/I work product is no longer the property of the HPOA and therefore, she wrongly thinks, is no longer subject to CPRA.
Last Wednesday our faithful correspondent and a small contingent of other MK.org staffers hit the 704 Eastbound on SMB to the Echo Park Office of Hollywood’s own Mitch O’Farrell, where he had an appointment with Hollywood Field Deputy Daniel Halden to look at both oodles and scads of very highly miscellaneous emails and other goodies.
It was our intention to follow our traditional course of conduct after such missions and hit up the loveliest Brite Spot at the corner of Sunset and Park, but ’twas not to be. For some reason known only to them and their accountant they’re closing at 4 pm throughout the Summer. One can only hope and pray that they’ll get back to normal hours later. But we digress.
It’s been a while since I’ve announced a pure, old-fashioned document dump, but the records just keep pouring in, and I have loads of them to lay on you this evening. First, from our friends at the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, we have pretty much all their Quarterly Reports, even going back to the 1990s. I also put these on the Archive:
BIDs are required to send these reports to the City Clerk, who keeps them on file. They contain detailed narratives of the BIDs’ activities and are invaluable for understanding what’s going on. I have a ton of these from other BIDs as well, but they’re not quite ready for prime time. If there’s something you need urgently, though, drop me a line and I will try to fix you up.
Also, courtesy of the much-more-helpful-lately-than-she-has-been-in-the-past Suzanne Holley of the Downtown Center BID we have a massive pile of Central Area Crime Control stuff from the LAPD. This is valuable because getting it out of the LAPD would be practically impossible, and yet here it is. See what Compstat output looks like and much else of interest.
Today I uploaded documents from the DCBID, the Fashion District, and some emails from Raquel Beard to the Mayor’s office. The DCBID’s Operations Committee agendas are here, and according to Suzanne Holley this is all of them for which there are electronic copies. They don’t meet very often, it seems. Next up we have 2015 minutes and agendas for the Fashion District BID Board of Directors. There’s some interesting stuff here, although I haven’t had time to read them carefully. For instance, on February 26, 2015, the Board heard about the Central City Association’s plot to hire Rodriguez Strategies to fight the legalization of street vending in LA. The new information here is that Carol Schatz evidently pegged the cost at $60,000 and Kent Smith of the FDBID asked and received from the Board approval to donate $10,000. I think that, given how the original initiative expanded, including the hiring of subordinate publicists, that original estimate must have ended up to be quite low. In March Kent asked for and received from the board $5,000 to oppose Carol Liu’s Right to Rest Act. I really do wonder if this kind of political activism is a legal use of BID money, since it’s supposed to be used to provide services in the district above and beyond what the City provides. How, I wonder, is taking positions on state laws consistent with this charge? A question for another day, I guess. And finally, after the break, we have some emails from Raquel Beard of the CCEA to Eric Garcetti’s office. Continue reading New Documents, Mostly Routine, although Assistant LAPD Chief Jorge Villegas Explicitly Acknowledges Limitations of Arrests as a Tool for Addressing Homelessness→
Business Improvement Districts in Los Angeles — Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down!