Tag Archives: Tara Devine

Minuscule Release Of Emails From Venice Beach BID Nevertheless Reveals Likely Brown Act Violations Along With Interesting Operational Details — Tara Devine Adopts Radically Different Personae Depending On Which Email Address She’s Sending From — Ultimately Successful Security Vendor Allied Universal Employed Powerhouse Lobbying Firm Cerrell To Help Win VBBID Contract — Possibly It Didn’t Help Them Win The Contract But Not Enough Evidence To Say For Sure (Yet!)

So in April 2018 I had to file a petition against the Venice Beach BID seeking to enforce compliance with the California Public Records Act because they’re so damn obstructionist that they had, at that time, been ignoring my requests for 14 months. Well, a few weeks after my lawyer filed the petition, Tara Devine started producing records1 and recently I received another set, this consisting of 45 emails between Devine and various parties on the subject of the BID’s search for a security provider. The whole set is available here on Archive.Org.

Unfortunately, there’s very little of specific interest here, although not nothing, and the interest is most certainly not nothing. Most importantly, there’s yet more circumstantial evidence that the VBBID engaged in systematic and egregious violations of the Brown Act during 2017. On a more personal level, but still interesting for the insight they yield into the weirdo mindset of BID executive director Tara Devine, there are records here demonstrating the radically different modes of address she uses depending on which email account she’s using to communicate.

For instance, she addresses Becky Dennison as “Becky” when sending from her tara@venicebeachbid.com or her tara@devine-strategies.com accounts, but when sending anonymously from admin@venicebeachbid.com she calls her “Ms. Dennison.” Note that this phenomenon may or may not be related to the semantic oddities of Kerrymorrisonese.

It’s also interesting that the ultimately successful bidder for the BID’s security contract, Allied Universal, hired Los Angeles superlobbyists Cerrell to influence the BID’s choicemaking process. Unfortunately the emails contain just enough information to show that this happened while remaining silent on why it happened or how it played out in the selection process. Hopefully further research will shed light on these issues.

And turn the page for links to and transcriptions of specific emails!
Continue reading Minuscule Release Of Emails From Venice Beach BID Nevertheless Reveals Likely Brown Act Violations Along With Interesting Operational Details — Tara Devine Adopts Radically Different Personae Depending On Which Email Address She’s Sending From — Ultimately Successful Security Vendor Allied Universal Employed Powerhouse Lobbying Firm Cerrell To Help Win VBBID Contract — Possibly It Didn’t Help Them Win The Contract But Not Enough Evidence To Say For Sure (Yet!)

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Venice Beach BID Security Director Azucena Vela Declares That BID Patrol Must Violate Law In Order To Enforce It — Laws Are For The Homeless, Not For The BID Patrol — According To Her The BID Patrol Need Not Follow The Laws Of The City Of Los Angeles As Long As They Are Wearing Their Silly T-Shirts — Will Continue To Ride Their Bikes On The Boardwalk Even Though It Is Completely And Unquestionably Illegal

Yesterday was the second Friday of the month, so I hauled myself out West on the 733 to listen to the Venice Beach BIDdies babble on about whatever it is they’re talking about out there on Main Street, just inches from the Southern border of the City of Santa Monica. And naturally I videotaped the whole thing, and you can watch it here on YouTube or here on Archive dot Org as you prefer.

As always there was a lot of interesting stuff going on, and I’ll have at least one more post for you about it, but today’s topic is the security report by BID Patrol boss Azucena Vela of Allied Universal security. Here’s how it all went down. First, famous-in-Venice member of the Neighborhood Council Colleen Saro spoke during the newly attenuated public comment period. You can watch her here. She had a lot to say, but the salient bit was her comment on the BID Patrollies riding their damn bikes on the Boardwalk:

Your security guys first of all shouldn’t be on a bike on the boardwalk on a bike because that’s illegal so it’s kind of difficult for them to enforce if they’re breaking the law…

And if you know anything about Venice you know that, first, bikes on the Boardwalk are a big problem. People who ride them there are your basic antisocial psychopaths who are so fixated on their own convenience that they don’t care at all about running over children, old people, wheelchair riders and other human beings who can’t dodge quick enough. Also, second, it is actually against the law to ride a bike on the Boardwalk. It says so explicitly at LAMC §56.15(2):

No person shall ride, operate or use a bicycle or unicycle on Ocean Front Walk between Marine Street and Via Marina within the City of Los Angeles, except that bicycle or unicycle riding shall be permitted along the bicycle path adjacent to Ocean Front Walk between Marine Street and Washington Boulevard.

Continue reading Venice Beach BID Security Director Azucena Vela Declares That BID Patrol Must Violate Law In Order To Enforce It — Laws Are For The Homeless, Not For The BID Patrol — According To Her The BID Patrol Need Not Follow The Laws Of The City Of Los Angeles As Long As They Are Wearing Their Silly T-Shirts — Will Continue To Ride Their Bikes On The Boardwalk Even Though It Is Completely And Unquestionably Illegal

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Venice Beach BID Public Records Are Pouring In Due To Our Writ Petition — Responses To Security RFP From Allied Universal, Street Plus, HELPER 2000 — AUS Proposal Has Incredibly Detailed Information On BID Patrol Training, Organization — Executed Contract Between BID And Allied — And If You Know The CPRA You Know That This Development Means They’ve Already Lost The Damn Case — And We, De Natch, Have Therefore Already Won It!

If you’ve been following my attempts to get public records out of the Venice Beach BID via the CPRA you’ll remember that Tara Devine’s sheer bloody-minded obstructionism led finally after more than a year of saint-like patience on my part to my being forced against my will to file a writ petition against the ornery BIDdies to compel compliance. Well, amazingly, it seems possible that the BIDdies aren’t going to litigate,1 and one of the major indicators is that they have already started handing over documents!2

And here’s what we have! First there’s the executed contract between Allied Universal and the BID for security services along with some flyers for their job fairs. Second, there are three proposals to provide BID security, found here on Archive.Org, from Streetplus, from HELPER 2000, and, of course, the successful proposal from Allied Universal.

This last item is absolutely the most important prize torn from the vaults of the zillionaire elite in this particular raid. It contains really detailed information about the operations of the Venice BID Patrol, their training, their hiring and retention practices, how they see their mission, what kinds of records they keep, their relations with property owners and the BID board and staff, and so on. It’s long, but it’s essential. Turn the page for some transcribed selections and commentary.
Continue reading Venice Beach BID Public Records Are Pouring In Due To Our Writ Petition — Responses To Security RFP From Allied Universal, Street Plus, HELPER 2000 — AUS Proposal Has Incredibly Detailed Information On BID Patrol Training, Organization — Executed Contract Between BID And Allied — And If You Know The CPRA You Know That This Development Means They’ve Already Lost The Damn Case — And We, De Natch, Have Therefore Already Won It!

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Venice Beach BID Board Unilaterally Raises Everyone’s Property Taxes By 5% In The Face Of Universal Opposition — The BID Spends About 10% Of Its Annual Income On Lawyers — And About 10% On Tara Freaking Devine — George “Demonic Goatee” Francisco And Taylor “Smartest Guy In Room Cause UCLA” Bazley Spent What Seemed Like The Whole Damn Meeting Cooing Icky-Sticky Satanic Incantations In Each Others’ Ears

Last Wednesday the Venice Beach BID board of directors met. I was able to attend and record video of the entire dark and bloody ritual, which you can watch either on YouTube or else on Archive.Org depending on which way your pleasure tends.1

Anyway, the most sinister part was the fact that the board voted to raise assessments 5% for next year. You can watch the actual vote here — it was five to one, with useful idiot and legitimacy-lender Connie Brooks voting against despite Mark Sokol’s unsuccessful attempt to bully her into abstaining.2 This from a BID which didn’t start operations until far more than a year after it was created and did so little its first year that the City forced it to refund everyone’s money.

As late as March 2018 the City was still having to threaten this BID with disestablishment due to its inability to meet even the most basic terms of its contract. These are the people who are boosting everyone’s taxes by 5% next year. And what do they need that money for given that they have not actually done anything with all the money they’ve already bled out of the people of Venice?
Continue reading Venice Beach BID Board Unilaterally Raises Everyone’s Property Taxes By 5% In The Face Of Universal Opposition — The BID Spends About 10% Of Its Annual Income On Lawyers — And About 10% On Tara Freaking Devine — George “Demonic Goatee” Francisco And Taylor “Smartest Guy In Room Cause UCLA” Bazley Spent What Seemed Like The Whole Damn Meeting Cooing Icky-Sticky Satanic Incantations In Each Others’ Ears

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I Don’t Need To Read BIDs The Riot Act — I Just Read ‘Em The Brown Act — Cause They Sure Ain’t Reading It For Themselves — This Week It’s The Venice Beach BID Revising Everything At The Last Minute Just Cause I Told ‘Em To!

We’ve seen over and over and over again that for the life of them the business improvement districts of Los Angeles just cannot follow the damn Brown Act. There was that time in February when the South Park BID messed up their agenda and then revised it cause I said to, and then there was that other time when the South Parkies messed up their teleconferencing methodology and now they don’t even offer teleconferencing any more cause I pointed out their violation.

And then there was the Los Feliz Village BID episode where they illegally discussed tee shirts and got admonished by the DA, and the East Hollywood BID teleconferencing episode, and South Park again, checking IDs illegally, and Sunset-Vine checking IDs illegally, and the damn Central City East Association, which cannot even stick to their agenda, which is illegal.

And a favorite topic of conversation around the campfire here at MK Dot Org secret headquarters is why it is that the BIDs, who have all the money and all the lawyers that anyone who was inclined to follow the law might need to allow them to do so, nevertheless can’t get this simple thing right. Over and over and over again they violate the Brown Act. We don’t have any definitive answers for you,1 but maybe it’s comforting to know we’re talking about it?

And this very morning, friends, the Venice Beach BID became the latest to join this illustrious roster. Turn the page for the lurid details!
Continue reading I Don’t Need To Read BIDs The Riot Act — I Just Read ‘Em The Brown Act — Cause They Sure Ain’t Reading It For Themselves — This Week It’s The Venice Beach BID Revising Everything At The Last Minute Just Cause I Told ‘Em To!

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Last Friday, May 18, Devine And Heumann Got Called On The Carpet At City Hall To Get Yelled At By Wolcott, Hoppes, Moreno, Bazley, And Possibly Molnar! — We Have A Copy Of The Refund Affadavit Letter Being Sent To VBBID Property Owners! — As Of This Wednesday, May 23, Tara Devine Still Hadn’t Submitted The Freaking Annual Planning Report — Moreno Coming At Her All Salty! — And Rightly So!

A bunch of new documents for you this morning, friends! You can look through the whole pile of them here on Archive.Org, and read on for some selected gems!

First of all, recall that the Venice Beach BID is being required by the City to refund most of the money collected from property owners in 2017 because they were too damn arrogant and/or incompetent to actually do anything other than pay themselves salaries with the almost two million dollars the City handed over to them.1

You can read this copy of the letter to property owners along with instructions for filling out the necessary affadavit. This was scheduled to be sent out on May 11. What’s more interesting, though, is this email exchange from May 8 between Tara Devine and Rita Moreno about when this letter was to be sent. First Rita Moreno emailed Tara Devine at 3:20 p.m. and said:

Hi Tara,

For your information, attached is the notice and instructions that will be mailed out on Friday. Also included will be the actual Affidavit and the return envelope.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Rita

A mere seven minutes later2 the shadowy one fired off this intemperate reply:

Thank you. To clarify, we want to sit down before anything is mailed . It is important that we understand the entire process.

I’m working now to schedule something as early as possible next week. (Monday is launch, so it can’t be Monday.)

Amazingly, Tara Devine does not seem to understand that she’s not in charge of this situation. She and her BIDdies out in Venice have messed up far, far beyond what’s acceptable to the City, and it takes an awful lot to get to that point. She does not have the leverage to set terms. Which is essentially what Rita Moreno said to her in reply.

Turn the page to read that reply as well as the story of Tara Devine and Steve Heumann’s May 18 meeting at City Hall with a bunch of angry City officials and the story of how as of this Wednesday, May 23, Tara Devine still hasn’t gotten that damn annual planning report in!
Continue reading Last Friday, May 18, Devine And Heumann Got Called On The Carpet At City Hall To Get Yelled At By Wolcott, Hoppes, Moreno, Bazley, And Possibly Molnar! — We Have A Copy Of The Refund Affadavit Letter Being Sent To VBBID Property Owners! — As Of This Wednesday, May 23, Tara Devine Still Hadn’t Submitted The Freaking Annual Planning Report — Moreno Coming At Her All Salty! — And Rightly So!

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Mike Bonin Told Taylor Bazley To Ask Rita Moreno If It Was Possible To Remove “A Specific Affordable Housing Development From The BID” — Rita Moreno Wrongly Told Him It Was Not Possible And Cited Tara Freaking Devine In Support Of Her Incorrect Theory — Yet Again The City Of Los Angeles Cedes Its Lawful Authority To BIDdies For Nefarious Reasons Of Its Own

Remember at the end of the hearing at which the City Council established the Venice Beach BID in November 2016 CD11 repster Mike Bonin told the audience that he was going to help get residential-use properties out of the BID. Listen to him here, and here’s what he said:

And I would just say one final thing to those who talked about the fact that they have properties that are zoned commercial but are used as residential. As I said when I met with
[unintelligible] recently, I am happy to help those folks get their properties rezoned as residential properties.

Bonin reneged on that promise, and since then he’s been parroting Tara Devine’s mendacious theory that there’s no way for commercially zoned properties to be removed from a BID even though the PBID law very clearly states otherwise.1 It empowers the City Council to lower assessments and/or to remove properties from a BID for any reason or no reason at all.2

Mike Bonin is so committed at this point to hewing to Tara Devine’s bizarre interpretation of the law that he even lets her respond to press inquiries on the matter using his name. And the City Clerk, Ms. Holly Wolcott, is also all-in on this theory, even though it’s provably wrong, wrong, wrong. So presumably her staff in the Clerk’s office are also true believers.

Thus it was not much of a surprise to learn from this January 2018 email exchange between CD11 Venice field deputy Taylor Bazley and City Clerk BID honcho Rita Moreno that Bonin was still obsessed with finding legal support, no matter how shaky and wrong it might be, for never ever removing any property from the BID ever.3

The short version is that Taylor Bazley wrote to Rita Moreno and was all can we remove a particular affordable housing project from the BID?! And Rita Moreno, who is evidently not even worried about getting popped for the unlawful practice of law, was all no way Taylor!! Properties can’t be removed from the BID for any reason whatsoever until the end of the BID!!

And to support her position she quoted a bunch of wrong-headed contradictory nonsense from Tara Devine! Anyway, there’s a transcription of the email thread and some commentary after the break, so read on, friends!!
Continue reading Mike Bonin Told Taylor Bazley To Ask Rita Moreno If It Was Possible To Remove “A Specific Affordable Housing Development From The BID” — Rita Moreno Wrongly Told Him It Was Not Possible And Cited Tara Freaking Devine In Support Of Her Incorrect Theory — Yet Again The City Of Los Angeles Cedes Its Lawful Authority To BIDdies For Nefarious Reasons Of Its Own

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Steve Hudson, Deputy Director Of The California Coastal Commission, Reports Back On Whether The Venice Beach BID Falls Into Coastal Commission Jurisdiction — Short Answer Is Not Right Now But Maybe In The Future — Surprising No One, Steve Hudson’s Report Shows Tara Devine Is A Damned Liar


Recall that on April 11, Venice Beach BID opposition activist Margaret Molloy spoke before the California Coastal Commission, urging them to conceptualize the formation of the BID and the BID’s activities as development under the Coastal Act. Her argument was sufficiently convincing that commissioner Effie Turnbull Sanders directed Commission staff to report back on whether the BID fell within the Commission’s jurisdiction.

And at the Commission’s May 11, 2018 meeting, Deputy Director Steve Hudson did just that. You can watch his entire presentation here on YouTube, and, as always, there’s a complete transcription after the break. Mostly the guy, who’d evidently talked to boss BIDdie Tara Devine at great length, parroted BID propaganda about how they’re just going to clean sidewalks and not hire security guards, but just so-called safety ambassadors who are going to mostly give directions to tourists and so forth.

Given that the BID hasn’t actually even started doing anything, it’s pretty hard right now to expose these bogus claims as the blatant self-serving lies that they obviously are, but eventually we’ll be able to. And here’s just one example of the Tara-Devinean parrotry if you don’t feel like reading the whole speech below. In a weirdly contemptuous display of Kool Aid drinking, Steve Hudson, perhaps inadvertently, revealed much about the utter inhuman contempt that Tara Devine and her nightmare employers on the BID board have for our homeless brothers and sisters in Venice. Note that the transcribed laughter is quite real. Listen for yourself:

I spoke with the president of the nonprofit association. She indicated that these security guards and police do not target homeless or any segment of the population. They’re there to provide information, so for instance if they saw a crime occurring or, the example they gave me is if someone was urinating in a doorway they would ask them to stop and direct them to the appropriate facilities. Ah ha ha ha ha. So it would not be an operation intended to target or displace the homeless.

Continue reading Steve Hudson, Deputy Director Of The California Coastal Commission, Reports Back On Whether The Venice Beach BID Falls Into Coastal Commission Jurisdiction — Short Answer Is Not Right Now But Maybe In The Future — Surprising No One, Steve Hudson’s Report Shows Tara Devine Is A Damned Liar

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The Venice Beach BID Annual Planning Report Provides An Opportunity For Mike Bonin To Unilaterally Remove Properties From The BID Or Reduce Their Assessments To Zero — This Could Happen This Month If Mike Bonin Will Do It!— No Zoning Change Required Even!— Maybe Some Constituent Pressure Will Convince Bonin To Use This Power?


Business improvement districts in California are required by the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994 at §36650 to submit an annual planning report to the City every year. The reports must subsequently be approved by the City Council.

One function of these reports is to explain how the BID will spend its money in the coming year, but they have another important purpose. According to the statute:

The report may propose changes, including, but not limited to, the boundaries of the property and business improvement district or any benefit zones within the district, the basis and method of levying the assessments, and any changes in the classification of property, including any categories of business, if a classification is used.

In other words BIDs are allowed to remove properties entirely or reduce their assessments, presumably all the way to zero if they so choose, merely by stating that they’ll do so in their annual planning report.

Now, the Venice Beach BID approved their APR at their April 13, 2018 meeting and submitted it to the City on April 30. They didn’t propose any changes in boundaries or assessment methods. But it turns out that, according to the law, they don’t have the final say. The statute says at §36650(c) that:

The city council may approve the report as filed by the owners’ association or may modify any particular contained in the report and approve it as modified.

So that means that not only can the BID use the APR to remove properties or to reduce their assessments even down to zero, but the City Council can do that also, even without the BID’s approval. And the way things work in the City of Los Angeles, that means that Mike Bonin himself can make the changes. There’s no way his colleagues are going to oppose him on a matter that affects only his district. Read on to see how this might actually lead to properties being removed from the BID this year!
Continue reading The Venice Beach BID Annual Planning Report Provides An Opportunity For Mike Bonin To Unilaterally Remove Properties From The BID Or Reduce Their Assessments To Zero — This Could Happen This Month If Mike Bonin Will Do It!— No Zoning Change Required Even!— Maybe Some Constituent Pressure Will Convince Bonin To Use This Power?

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Beachslapped!! — Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott Wrote To Mark Sokol And Tara Devine On April 18, 2018 Stating That More Than $1.3 Million Of The Venice Beach BID’s Unused 2017 Assessments Will Be Refunded To Property Owners Starting In July 2018 — A Monumental Development Considering The City’s Extreme Reluctance To Get Involved With Overseeing BIDs At All

At their March 9, 2018 meeting the Venice Beach BID Board of Directors discussed refunding some or all of the $1.8 million collected from property owners in 2017, most of which is unspent because the BIDdies took so long to get moving. You can read the minutes here, and there’s a transcription of the salient item after the break.

It appears from the minutes that the BID only agreed to inquire of the City whether a refund was possible. However, when City Clerk Holly Wolcott responded to the BID’s inquiry in an April 18, 2018 letter, she wrote as if the refund was a done deal. And since her office controls the money, it seems that it is a done deal. Wolcott says that refunds will issue beginning in July 2018.

This strikes me as yet another vote of no confidence in the beleaguered Venice Beach BID as run by Mark Sokol, Tara Devine, and the rest of their horrow-show crew. Although it’s well-known that under Wolcott the City of Los Angeles has essentially been completely unwilling to police BID activity in any way, she seems to be coming around to the idea that there’s something really, really wrong in Venice. There are transcriptions of everything after the break.
Continue reading Beachslapped!! — Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott Wrote To Mark Sokol And Tara Devine On April 18, 2018 Stating That More Than $1.3 Million Of The Venice Beach BID’s Unused 2017 Assessments Will Be Refunded To Property Owners Starting In July 2018 — A Monumental Development Considering The City’s Extreme Reluctance To Get Involved With Overseeing BIDs At All

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