Tag Archives: Venice

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

Share

Full Recording Of Yesterday’s Venice Beach BID Meeting Now Available For Scholarly Analysis And Weekend Hatewatching!

This is just the briefest of notes to announce that, thanks to a faithful friend of this blog, I’m able to make available a complete recording of the April 13, 2018 meeting of the Board of Directors of the Venice Beach Business Improvement District. I will watch this 90 minute monstrosity this weekend and report back on highlights, but I wanted to provide links as soon as possible. It’s available both on YouTube and also on Archive.Org.

Like I said, I haven’t watched it yet, but my first impression after skimming around in the depths of this invaluable item is that President & CEO Tara Devine is even more unhinged than I had originally thought, and that’s saying an awful damn lot.
Continue reading Full Recording Of Yesterday’s Venice Beach BID Meeting Now Available For Scholarly Analysis And Weekend Hatewatching!

Share

There Is At Least One Substantial Way In Which Slavering Psychopath Mark Ryavec Is Not Like Donald Trump And That Is That We Have His Freaking Tax Returns

Something is happening and you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?
This has nothing much at all to do with businesss improvement districts, but it’s Saturday night and I just felt like laying some Form 990s on you. These five beauties are from slavering psychopath Mark Ryavec’s agressively moronic Venice-based gang of subliterate meatheads, known to the mundane world as the Venice Stakeholders Association. They are available here on Archive.Org for your reading and researchical pleasure.

These items are interesting for any number of reasons. One is that they show that the VSA is not just a vision of sugar plums dancing ‘neath the fevered brow of Mark Ryavec, but that there are actual real-life other people involved:1 Michael King, Bonnie Felix, Anil Comelo, Robert Feist, Richard Myer(s).2 Had they appeared in another context I’d have been willing to bet that these names were merely selected from the myriad to be found in Ryavec’s floridly diverse collection of multiple personalities, but I don’t know many people, even the really, really, crazy ones, who have a lack of foresight sufficient to cause them to swear under penalty of perjury in a document submitted to the Federal government that the names of their imaginary friends represent real-life actual human beings.3

Another interesting thing is that the forms contain descriptions of accomplishments the VSA deems significant enough to brag about to the Federal government. These have the perhaps unintended effect of revealing both the breadth and the depth of the slavering psychopathy at work out there in the lorn, lost, lamented, former utopia west of Electric Avenue. Selected instances may be found after the break.
Continue reading There Is At Least One Substantial Way In Which Slavering Psychopath Mark Ryavec Is Not Like Donald Trump And That Is That We Have His Freaking Tax Returns

Share

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

Share

Venice Residents File Suit Against City of L.A. Over Venice Beach BID!! Arguments Underlying Petition Will Have Broad Progressive Implications If Successful

There’s no place on earth like Venice, so why shouldn’t the destruction of BIDs in California begin in Venice?
A couple weeks ago, a group of brave and determined residents of Venice filed a writ petition against the City of Los Angeles and the Venice Beach BID asking the court to set aside the ordinance that created it, to force the City to redraw the BID’s boundaries in accordance with the law, and, most interestingly, to order the City to contest the assessments levied against City-owned properties in the BID. You can read a copy of the initial petition:

  • Here — direct download
  • Or here — on the new dedicated page, also available through the menu structure above.
  • Or here — directly from static storage; see the titles better!

They argue that their residential properties will get no special benefits from the BID, which violates the California Constitution. They argue that many of the proposed activities of the BID, specifically the security program, are inherently incapable of providing special benefits. And most interestingly from the point of view of general anti-BID theory, they argue that the City has a duty to its citizens to scrutinize the BID plan to be sure that City-owned parcels included in the BID actually benefit from being in the BID, and that by rubber-stamping the BID proposal, the City has abdicated this duty. If this argument succeeds it will shake the very foundations of BIDs in Los Angeles, which rely to various extents on the automatic yes votes provided by City-owned property. This automatic approval, by the way, was set up in 19981 via Council File 96-1972 which, in pertinent part, includes a directive to:

REQUIRE the City Clerk to sign off on Proposition 218 ballots and support petitions for property-based BIDs, unless the Council directs otherwise.

Anyway, this is an exciting and welcome development, and all of us here at MK.Org thank the plaintiffs and their lawyers for filing this petition. There are a few excerpts that caught my eye along with my usual uninformed and amateur commentaries after the break if you’re interested.
Continue reading Venice Residents File Suit Against City of L.A. Over Venice Beach BID!! Arguments Underlying Petition Will Have Broad Progressive Implications If Successful

Share

Mark Ryavec: the notion that police act as gentrification agents is “a bunch of radical bullshit.” LAPD Captain Cory Palka: “I showed [that developer], through public safety, that we can help him develop and prosper as he invests in Hollywood”

Cory Palka giving a performative demonstration of the fact that Mark Ryavec is not only a slavering psychopath, he’s also either clueless or a liar or both.
A few weeks ago, Rory Carroll published an excellent article in The Guardian on how the City of Los Angeles has used gang injunctions as a tool of gentrification in Venice. Of course, this is not news to anyone who’s been paying attention since the injunction began in 2000. Even at the time it seemed clear that the injunction was a response to the wave of gentrification that began in Venice in the late 1980s and underwent unprecedented acceleration through the 1990s. Of course, everyone who’s smelting gold out of the housing stock of Oakwood in a blast furnace fueled by the burning bodies and lives of the poor people, the dark-skinned people, fed into the hopper by the LAPD, denies this every which way.

And these arguments have been repeated so often I have nightmares about them. “The cops would never ever do such a thing.” “There’s no conspiracy to chase out darkies.”1 And so on and on and on. But Venice’s own muse of slavering psychopathy, the very king of the gentrifiers, the universally acknowledged whitest man in Venice, Mark Ryavec himself, has distilled all of them, every last threadbare tin-foil-hat characterization, into one bitter pithy little ball. As Rory Carroll puts it:

For Mark Ryavec, head of the Venice Stakeholders Association, the notion that police act as gentrification agents is “a bunch of radical bullshit”.

Well, first of all, it’s not actually bullshit.2 The arguments against the idea that the City uses the LAPD to promote gentrification are mostly based on the (probably) factual assertion that (a) the City never mentions gentrification as a purpose for the gang injunctions and (b) that the assertions they make in support of the injunctions have to do with very real problems of violent crime (real at the time when the injunctions are being sought, anyway). There are a number of problems with this line of reasoning.
Continue reading Mark Ryavec: the notion that police act as gentrification agents is “a bunch of radical bullshit.” LAPD Captain Cory Palka: “I showed [that developer], through public safety, that we can help him develop and prosper as he invests in Hollywood”

Share

Venice Beach BID Hearing Roundup: Bonin Jettisons Deference, Implicatively Slams Hollywood, Downtown BIDs: “There’ve Been Good BIDs And There’ve Been Bad BIDs” And Hollywood? And Downtown? Not Good BIDs. Wesson/Englander Totalitarian Style Almost Causes Third Do-Over

A battle-weary Mike Bonin graciously acknowledges his ultimate victory this afternoon at the Venice Beach BID hearing.
A battle-weary Mike Bonin graciously acknowledges his ultimate victory this afternoon at the Venice Beach BID hearing.
Quick summary: Venice Beach BID hearing in August was messed up due to habitual arrogance of City Council. Heroic civil rights lawyer calls bullshit. City Attorney sees potential liability for City and advises a do-over. A bunch of other shenanigans, too many to name-check at this point, ensue. This morning the do-over hearing was held. You can watch it here on YouTube.

So everyone made their comments, and they weren’t all that different from the first time, although Mike Bonin managed not to lose his shit and compare the BID opposition to Trump supporters.1 But nevertheless, there were a few surprising moments. Recall that the first hearing was invalidated because third-smartest-guy-in-the-room Herb Wesson cut off public comment too early. So this time, Mitch Englander, who is Council president pro tem,2 after all the speaker cards had been called, announced to the world at large:3

Mitch Englander on the dais getting whispered advice from a deputy city attorney.  What does it say about our City that almost 15% of our Councilmembers are named Mitch?  Nothing good, friends, nothing good.
Mitch Englander on the dais getting whispered advice from a deputy city attorney. What does it say about our City that almost 15% of our Councilmembers are named Mitch? Nothing good, friends, nothing good.


I wanna be extra careful on this one given the problems with the last public hearing. Is there anybody here who filled out a card or tried to speak or
[unintelligible] has not been heard yet?

And then the other one, Wesson or Englander, seeing that sanest of habitual gadflies, Eric Preven, indicating that he would like to speak, announced:

Ah, Mr. Preven, you actually spoke to the Council already for your maximum of three minutes per the Council rules.

And Preven said no. And everyone in the room wondered whether they were really going to take the risk of messing everything up for a second time just to prevent Eric Preven from speaking for one more minute after we’d all been there almost an hour already. Well, the Deputy City Attorney told the two prezzes to CTFO, and they folded, for Christ’s sake, and let Eric Preven speak.

But far more interesting than that was Bonin’s victory speech.4 In particular, maybe since he was feeling a little conciliatory, he said:
Continue reading Venice Beach BID Hearing Roundup: Bonin Jettisons Deference, Implicatively Slams Hollywood, Downtown BIDs: “There’ve Been Good BIDs And There’ve Been Bad BIDs” And Hollywood? And Downtown? Not Good BIDs. Wesson/Englander Totalitarian Style Almost Causes Third Do-Over

Share

Evidently CD11 Staff Is Telling Concerned Constituents That BID Patrol Security Guards Cannot Touch People At All. That They Cannot Do Anything That You Or I Could Not Do. The Second Claim Unfortunately Is True. The First Is False. We Have Proof.

One of over three hundred people arrested, shackled, and physically transported by the Hollywood BID Patrol in 2015.
One of over three hundred people arrested, shackled, and physically transported by the Hollywood BID Patrol in 2015.
According to a recent post on Facebook, Mike Bonin’s Venice Field Deputy Taylor Bazley is telling concerned constituents that1 they [the BID Patrol] cannot touch people at all. He said “They can not do anything that you or I could not do. They just alert police. That’s all.”

The second claim, that BID security cannot do anything that any private person can’t do, is true, but it doesn’t make the point that Taylor Bazley wants it to make. California has one of the most weirdly expansive citizens’ arrest statutes (PC 837 et seq.) in the known universe. A lawyer of my acquaintance once said2 that it essentially authorizes fricking Batman. So actually, you yourself can physically restrain people with handcuffs if they e.g. sit on the sidewalk in your presence.3

Sorry, Taylor.  You're cute, but you're wrong.
Sorry, Taylor. You’re cute, but you’re wrong.

But Taylor Bazley’s attributed claim that BID security can’t arrest people is just wrong. The Hollywood BID Patrol, run by Andrews International Security, has made physical custodial arrests of far more than 10,000 people since they began their work here in 2007. In 2013 they made more than 1% of the arrests in the entire City of Los Angeles. You can watch videos of their arrests, read arrest reports and daily logs, and even look at photos of the people they’ve arrested:
Continue reading Evidently CD11 Staff Is Telling Concerned Constituents That BID Patrol Security Guards Cannot Touch People At All. That They Cannot Do Anything That You Or I Could Not Do. The Second Claim Unfortunately Is True. The First Is False. We Have Proof.

Share

Open Letter to City Council Asking For Postponement of Venice Beach BID And A Moratorium On New BID Formation


Honorable Los Angeles City Councilmembers,

I’m writing to urge you to postpone consideration of the proposed Venice Beach business improvement district and to think about placing a moratorium on the formation of new BIDs until we as a City can have a much-needed, long-delayed conversation about their proper role. A major problem is that as they’re now constituted, there is no way for anyone not on their Boards of Directors to have any influence over property-based BIDs in Los Angeles. They have effectively isolated themselves from every one of the City’s means of contractor oversight. People who live in or near BIDs are directly impacted by their activities in many ways but have no effective means of influencing them. Since the property owners associations that administer the BIDs are mostly controlled by self-perpetuating Boards there aren’t even effective ways for the property owners in BIDs to influence their policies. Property-based BIDs also covertly and perhaps inadvertently perpetuate racist policies from the past in unexpected ways.
Continue reading Open Letter to City Council Asking For Postponement of Venice Beach BID And A Moratorium On New BID Formation

Share

If BIDs Are Such A Good Good Thing For The City Then Why Is Everyone Involved In Their Creation So Darned Secretive?

Laura McLennan, Mike Bonin's Deputy Chief of Staff, who has her story about BID formation and she's sticking to it.
Laura McLennan, Mike Bonin’s Deputy Chief of Staff, who has her story about BID formation and she’s sticking to it.
Ask anybody who’s making bank off BIDs. Ask the BID Consortium. Ask the freaking State Legislature, who has incorporated their findings in the freaking Streets and Highways Code at Section 36601(e)(1). Every zillionaire in the state of California and every zillionaire lackey legislator at every level will tell you that the flipping RAND Corporation Report on BIDs proves that they’re better for the health, wealth, and eternal salvation for the people of the Golden State than the the forthcoming resurrection of Jesus, Mary, and all 12 of the apostles.1 And yet when it comes to finding out who’s behind creating them, everybody lies, everybody hides.

Here’s the story. The City creates BIDs. This is no secret. When Aaron Epstein changed the world with his lawsuit the court found that yes, the City of Los Angeles created its BIDs. Read through the records from the years of work Jackie Goldberg dedicated in the 1990s to forming a BID in Hollywood. And yet if you ask anyone at the City for any records to do with the preformation of a BID, they will trot out their official story, which is a lie, that BIDs are formed by a spontaneous movement of property owners.2 This is what Laura McLennan, Mike Bonin’s Deputy Chief of Staff, told me this morning after I asked her for a copy of the list of property owners in the forthcoming Venice Beach BID. She also told me that CD11 didn’t have the list and that I should ask the City Clerk.

I don’t know if that was meant as bitter sarcasm or was just a symptom of ignorance (although I’d hope that someone as intimately involved with the VBBID formation process as Bonin’s senior staff must be would not suffer from the requisite level of ignorance), but actually I’d already asked the Clerk yesterday, been denied at multiple levels, and that’s why I was asking CD11.3 Staff members of the division that oversees BIDs told me that they didn’t have the list, that they didn’t have anything to do with the list, that the list didn’t have anything to do with the City, and that I could ask the shadowy private consultant who’s running the private side of the process, Tara Devine, for the list. I did ask Devine, even though it was obviously a waste of time to ask someone like Devine for anything she wasn’t obligated to provide by law. And it was a waste of time.
Continue reading If BIDs Are Such A Good Good Thing For The City Then Why Is Everyone Involved In Their Creation So Darned Secretive?

Share