Tag Archives: Vermont Avenue

The Actual Mechanism By Which Suzanne Holley And The Central City Association Strangled The Incipient Street Vending Ordinance In Its Cradle By Sneaking In Unilateral Councilmember Opt-Out On Behalf Of BIDs, The Role In This Debacle Played By Criminal Conspirators Jessica Borek and Matt Rodriguez, And How The Council Messaged It To BIDs

The Wicked Witch of the Southeast corner of Wilshire and Hope giving instructions to her flying monkeys.
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.
A man arrested, transported, and handcuffed to a bench by the Andrews International BID Patrol in Hollywood for selling umbrellas on the street. At least it appears that this horror show is over, although I wouldn’t be surprised if there are even more loopholes and it’s not over at all.
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,1 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.

At that time I didn’t understand yet how this had all taken place, but now I’ve accumulated enough documentary evidence that it’s possible to sketch out a picture. The short version is that in December 2016, Suzanne Holley, at that time acting Executive Director2 of the Schatzian horror show known as the Central City Association of Los Angeles, wrote a letter to the City Council telling them to make the change. This was distributed to the BIDs via the BID Consortium. They all told their pet Councilmembers to change it. It got changed, and all the BIDs rejoiced, some of them quite publicly. The consequences of this are going to be horrific, and whatever street vending framework gets put in place will be DOA. Details and evidence after the break.
Continue reading The Actual Mechanism By Which Suzanne Holley And The Central City Association Strangled The Incipient Street Vending Ordinance In Its Cradle By Sneaking In Unilateral Councilmember Opt-Out On Behalf Of BIDs, The Role In This Debacle Played By Criminal Conspirators Jessica Borek and Matt Rodriguez, And How The Council Messaged It To BIDs

Almost 200 Emails Between the City Of LA And the East Hollywood BID. Also, Lunada Bay Boys Hearing Tomorrow And Also Ethics Commission Meeting!

Dwarf bottlebrush plant from some plans that the East Hollywood BID exchanged with a bunch of lackeys at the City of LA in preparation for planting them along Vermont Avenue, most likely to thwart the homeless in some manner.
Tonight I had the pleasure of receiving from self-proclaimed active member of the revitalized Hollywood community1 Jeffrey Charles Briggs almost 200 emails between the East Hollywood Business Improvement District and various far-too-friendly folks at the City of Los Angeles. For now these are available here on Archive.Org. They’re PDFs, but they’re that super-PDF-format that one can make with genuine Adobe software that embeds attachments right in there with clickable links.2 I have only been able to give these a cursory look-over, but I can already see a few crucial items. I’ll be writing on these matters as soon as I possibly can, but if you want a preview of one of them take a look at this juicy little number.

And tomorrow is a huge day at the Civic Center. In the morning there is a hearing in the Lunada Bay Boys case, featuring Palos Verdes Peninsula zillionaire surf-localism-thuggery at its most flamboyantly weird. In the afternoon there is an essential meeting of the Ethics Commission. Turn the page for times, locations, and brief descriptions. Perhaps I’ll see you there!
Continue reading Almost 200 Emails Between the City Of LA And the East Hollywood BID. Also, Lunada Bay Boys Hearing Tomorrow And Also Ethics Commission Meeting!

What Does The City Of Los Angeles Consider “A Significant Number Of Protests” Against BID Formation Or Renewal? A Tragic Lesson From A Failed 2016 Attempt To Disestablish The Los Feliz Village BID

Looking south along Vermont Avenue from Russell Avenue in 1974 (with a good old triangular RTD sign in the foreground!). The trees are bigger now, but otherwise is Los Feliz Village really better off 43 years later?
Long-time readers of this blog will recall that the locus classicus of operational BID policies in the City of Los Angeles is to be found in Council File 96-1972, which is too old to have actual documents online, but I scanned and published a number of them last year.1 Therein may be found the City’s BID Policy and Implementation Guidelines, which are meant to provide an L.A.-specific implementation of the Property and Business Improvement Law of 1994.

Chapter 2 of that law describes the process for establishment and renewal of a BID,2 and it’s remarkable how tentative, how conditional the process is. It’s well-known by this point that in order for a BID to be formed it’s necessary that property owners representing more than 50% of the assessed value be in favor.3 It’s necessary, but it by no means sufficient. Section 36625(a) very clearly leaves the question of formation up to the Council:

If the city council, following the public hearing, decides to establish a proposed property and business improvement district, the city council shall adopt a resolution of formation…

The only mandatory requirement with respect to BID establishment in the whole Chapter is found in Section 36623(b), which says that if owners holding 50% or more of the assessed value are opposed to the BID, not only can it not be formed, but no further attempts can be made to form it for a year.

And the discretionary nature of the process is reflected in the City’s BID Policy and Implementation Guidelines as well. Therein it states:4

The City Council can proceed with the BID if the protest is less than 50%. However, BID proponents are cautioned that they should not expect a favorable vote from the City Council with a significant number of protests.

From the context it’s clear that the policy means that there is some threshold of protest less than 50% with respect to which the Council will not establish the proposed BID even though the Property and BID Act would allow them to do so.

Thus the question arises as to what this threshold is. Well, it turns out that an episode early last year involving the Los Feliz Village BID sheds some light on this question.5 The short answer is that business owners6 representing 16.95% of the assessed value protested, an unprecedented number,7 and yet City Council renewed the BID unanimously. Turn the page for a detailed recounting of the tragic details!
Continue reading What Does The City Of Los Angeles Consider “A Significant Number Of Protests” Against BID Formation Or Renewal? A Tragic Lesson From A Failed 2016 Attempt To Disestablish The Los Feliz Village BID

Central Avenue Historic BID May Provide Insight Into The Process By Which BIDs Evolved From Whatever They Were Originally Conceived To Be Into Weaponized Shock Troops Of The Zillionaire Real-Estate Power Elite

Sherri Franklin of the Urban Design Center, consultant to the Central Avenue Historic BID, speaks at the November 2, 2016 meeting of the Board of Directors.
Sherri Franklin of the Urban Design Center, consultant to the Central Avenue Historic BID, speaks at the November 2, 2016 meeting of the Board of Directors. I apologize for the crappy image quality. I didn’t plan to film.
After I spent some time looking into the Central Avenue Historic BID in the context of potential political goals for the post-approval Venice Beach BID, I thought it would be interesting to learn more about this newborn BID.1 The meetings are held at CD9’s district office at 4301 S. Central,2 so on a very pleasant evening last Thursday, I took the 210 out of Hollywood to MLK and Crenshaw, where I boarded the 705 to Central and Vernon from whence a couple blocks North on Central to watch the Board of Directors conduct their business.3 The meeting was scheduled to start at 5:30, but that evidently included some preliminaries, because when I got there at about 10 to 64 they hadn’t started yet.

Anyway, take a look at the agenda. You can see that they’re talking about the kind of things that one would expect BIDs to talk about from, e.g., reading the Wikipedia page on BIDs,5 like branding and marketing, cleaning the streets, having Halloween events, and so on. And watch this short clip of the meeting.6 That’s Sherri Franklin of the Urban Design Center, the BID consultant, who also seems to be functioning as executive director, talking about some kind of partnership the BID’s working on with Hollywood Community Housing Corporation involving affordable housing at the corner of Central and Jefferson.7

Allan Muhammad, security director for the Central Avenue Historic District BID.
Allan Muhammad, security director for the Central Avenue Historic District BID.
And then you can watch here as BID security director Allan Muhammad introduces his employees, and then they proceed to hand out sample Halloween bags to everyone in the room. They didn’t once discuss custodial arrests, handcuffs, social engineering, mass relocations, self-aggrandizing 5150 holds, or any of the other hard-edged tactics of which the City’s older and ever so much more dangerous BIDs are so enamored. And even though I only got 15 minutes on tape of the 90 minutes I was there8 they didn’t really have anything objectionable to say even during the parts of the meeting I didn’t record. They talked about parking, they talked about their phone bills, they talked about how it was hard for the BID to patronize local businesses because they mostly only accepted cash.9

Could this be what a BID looks like as BIDs were intended to look? Well, the very question is based on a false assumption. And there were foreshadowings of bad news to come. And on the way home, and for the last few days, it’s got me thinking about what BIDs were meant to be,10how BIDs11 evolve under selective pressure, and how it’s probably inevitable that this BID is going to end up like the worst of the Downtown BIDs, the worst of the Hollywood BIDs. The short version is that BIDs probably started out as helpful tools, but as a wise woman once said, “every tool is a weapon if you hold it right.” So turn the page if you’re still interested…
Continue reading Central Avenue Historic BID May Provide Insight Into The Process By Which BIDs Evolved From Whatever They Were Originally Conceived To Be Into Weaponized Shock Troops Of The Zillionaire Real-Estate Power Elite

CD13 Field Deputy Aram Taslagyan’s Homeless Encampment Cleanup For Property Manager Bryan Kim Is Latest Entry In Our LAMC 49.5.5(A) Project

Council District 13 Field Deputy Aram Taslagyan.
Council District 13 Field Deputy Aram Taslagyan.
This evening I’m pleased to present the third installment in our ongoing LAMC 49.5.5(A) project, in which we report various City employees to the Ethics Commission in an attempt to discover exactly what the most fascinating ordinance ever,1 LAMC 49.5.5(A), actually prohibits. It says:

City officials, agency employees, appointees awaiting confirmation by the City Council, and candidates for elected City office shall not misuse or attempt to misuse their positions or prospective positions to create or attempt to create a private advantage or disadvantage, financial or otherwise, for any person.

Now, if you’ve been following the saga of Bryan Kim and Aram Taslagyan here on this blog,2 you’ll have noted these essential elements of the story:
Continue reading CD13 Field Deputy Aram Taslagyan’s Homeless Encampment Cleanup For Property Manager Bryan Kim Is Latest Entry In Our LAMC 49.5.5(A) Project

CD13 Staffers Marisol Rodriguez and Juan Fregoso Conspire With Bureau of Sanitation Employees Jose Garcia and Renee Shackleford to Subvert City Homeless Encampment Cleanup Policies and Procedures Just So Mitch O’Farrell, Other “VIPs,” Don’t Have To Walk By Homeless People On Their Way To Give A Speech

Low income housing at 215 N Vermont Avenue.  Note the distinctive lack of homeless people for VIPs to step over, thanks to the foresight and strongarm tactics of CD13's Marisol Rodriguez and Juan Fregoso.
Low income housing at 215 N Vermont Avenue. Note the distinctive lack of homeless people for VIPs to step over, thanks to the foresight and strongarm tactics of CD13’s Marisol Rodriguez and Juan Fregoso.
Well, it turns out there’s this company called AMCAL Housing, and according to their about-us page they build affordable housing in exchange for tax breaks, or some such thing. They’re building a big project at Vermont and Beverly1 called the Meridian Apartments, and they broke ground officially on February 11, 2016, with Mitch O’Farrell scheduled to speak at the ceremony.

Thus, on February 1, 2016, Paige Horn of AMCAL Housing emailed Marisol Rodriguez, Dave Cano, Juan Fregoso, all of CD13, and some people from Korean Churches for Community Development, which is working with AMCAL on this project, telling them:

Thank you all for your participation in the Meridian Groundbreaking Event on Thursday, February 11th at 11am! … There should be ample street parking, however, I have reserved VIP Parking for all speakers at the lower parking lot of Hubbard College of Administration that can be accessed from Juanita Avenue.

Map of the area.  (a) is the parking lot, (b) is the encampment.  A speculative VIP path to the event is shown in purple.  Click to enlarge.
Map of the area. (a) is the parking lot, (b) is the encampment. A speculative VIP path to the event is shown in purple. Click to enlarge.

But local knowledge counts for a lot. The very next day, our very own Juan Fregoso emailed Victor Gutierrez (#26802) with a cc to Matthew Ziegler (#34208)2 to report:

Hi Vic,
Here is the info for the event on the 11th.

We have CSI3 scheduled for February 9th.

As you can see, VIPs will park on Juanita and will have to walk through the encampment.

Me and Marisol are working to see how to address this but wanted to flag the event.

Thanks again for all your help.

And amazingly enough, I have a copy of the lengthy email chain between Juan Fregoso, Marisol Rodriguez, and a bunch of people from the L.A. Sanitation department showing exactly what those two CD13 stalwarts were doing “to see how to address this.” You can probably guess what’s coming, because if VIPs (?!) have to walk near homeless people, something’s gotta give, and it ain’t gonna be the VIPs,4 You’d be right, and you can read the sordid details after the break!
Continue reading CD13 Staffers Marisol Rodriguez and Juan Fregoso Conspire With Bureau of Sanitation Employees Jose Garcia and Renee Shackleford to Subvert City Homeless Encampment Cleanup Policies and Procedures Just So Mitch O’Farrell, Other “VIPs,” Don’t Have To Walk By Homeless People On Their Way To Give A Speech

Scumbag Cat-Kicking Koreatown Slumlord So Pleased With On-Demand CD13 Homeless Encampment Clean-Up That He Offers Commendations And Free Lunches for Staff, Campaign Contributions for Mitch O’Farrell

Dear kitty-cat,  TAKE THAT, YOU HOMELESS P.O.S.!!! Sincerely, Mitch O'Farrell and your friends at CD13.
Dear kitty-cat, TAKE THAT, YOU HOMELESS P.O.S.!!! Sincerely, Mitch O’Farrell and your friends at CD13.
I wrote some time ago about how CD13 staffer Aram Taslagyan organized an on-demand homeless encampment clean-up at the behest of scumbag cat-kicking Koreatown slumlord Bryan Kim, who needed it done really really fast because he had some kind of inspection forthcoming. Well, yesterday,1 I managed to get copies of some new emails between Bryan Kim and various CD13 staffies on the subject.2 In particular, on March 27, 2016, Bryan Kim wrote to CD13 District Director Marisol Rodriguez3 under the subject Recognizing Aram Taslagyan, stating e.g. that4

Aram did a great job demonstrating professional excellence and swiftly took comprehensive action to utilize his alliance with other groups such as LAPD, Sherrif, groups among others. I applaud his great effort for taking care (completely clearing all homeless encampment issues.

And what are Bryan Kim’s hopes for the future?

As of 4 days later there has still been no recurrence of them revisiting on Vermont and Marathon.

We hope to continue vigilant and collective efforts as I am in contact with Braille, LACC, local and community patrons to closely monitor any future outbreak, for which I will let Aram and lapd know.

Because as everyone who’s involved with “quality of life” knows, both homeless people and zombies arrive in “outbreaks.” Let’s hope we don’t have any more! And what is he asking Marisol Rodriguez to do?
Continue reading Scumbag Cat-Kicking Koreatown Slumlord So Pleased With On-Demand CD13 Homeless Encampment Clean-Up That He Offers Commendations And Free Lunches for Staff, Campaign Contributions for Mitch O’Farrell

CD13 Staff Organizes On-Demand Homeless Encampment Cleanup for Benefit of Bryan Kim of “Scumbag” Cat-Kicking Koreatown Slumlords Kim and Casey, Subsequently Personally Invite Him to Support LAMC 56.11 in Council

CD13 gleefully kicking "frustrating" homeless people out of your neighborhood since 2013.
Mitch O’Farrell and his staff: gleefully kicking “frustrating” homeless people out of your neighborhood since 2013.
How does the City of Los Angeles decide which homeless encampments to target for cleanup? How do they decide when to target them? Well, if these two email chains from City Council District 13 about encampment-breaking on Vermont Avenue and Marathon Street in Koreatown are any indication (one and two) they target them when non-homeless people call CD13 and tell them to clean out the homeless people.1 And what do they get out of targeting them? Well, they’re politically savvy enough to turn down free lunches offered in exchange for their dirty work, but they will accept an offer of bused-in political supporters to astroturf the public comments section of a Council meeting. First let’s look at the players involved.

Bryan Kim is a partner in Koreatown based property management company Kim and Casey, which doesn’t seem to have a website.2 They do, however, have a Yelp page. This is notable for having uniformly one star reviews, which include comments like:3

They would tell me I was picky about the filth they’d promised to clean up before I moved in but never took care of it. They wouldn’t accept responsibility and blamed everyone and everything else until they were legally forced to take control of the growing sludge and cesspool that had been forming for I don’t know how many weeks .

Aram Taslagyan: "Hi Bryan, [the homeless encampment that was interfering with your pending property inspection] is all clean now. ... Please let me know if it starts up again at any level.
Aram Taslagyan: “Hi Bryan, [the homeless encampment that was interfering with your pending property inspection] is all clean now. … Please let me know if it starts up again at any level.

Or, even more colorfully:

I had my sink drain burst and when I asked them to fix it they said “NO”. The reason they gave me was that I had a bathroom sink to use and I dint really need the one in my kitchen. … What kind of management company is this? Also, one day as I was looking out my window, I saw one of the three guys who were walking the property from Kim and Casey Kick my neighbors cat at he was walking down the path way. It was the middle aged guy of the three that were walking the property. I don’t know his name and don’t care to know such a scumbag.

So that’s Bryan Kim according to Yelp; K-Town slumlord and associate of cat-kickers if not a cat-kicker himself. The other correspondent is CD13 field deputy Aram Taslagyan, whose bio you can read for yourself. The whole thing evidently began with a disconnected phone call from Kim to CD13 intern Sean Starkey, which resulted in this email:
Continue reading CD13 Staff Organizes On-Demand Homeless Encampment Cleanup for Benefit of Bryan Kim of “Scumbag” Cat-Kicking Koreatown Slumlords Kim and Casey, Subsequently Personally Invite Him to Support LAMC 56.11 in Council

Many, Many New Emails from CD13 About Homeless Encampments, From CD4 About the Food Coalition, and From South Park BID About Street Vending

An image attached to one of many CD13 emails discussing breaking up homeless encampments on Melrose, Vermont, Alvarado, Beverly, and some adjacent streets.
An image attached to one of many CD13 emails discussing breaking up homeless encampments on Melrose, Vermont, Alvarado, Beverly, and some adjacent streets.
Today I’m just announcing three new collections of emails, all of which can be found (for now) exclusively in our Archive.org collections. First we have emails to and from CD13 about homeless encampments on Vermont Avenue, Melrose, Beverly, Alvarado, and some adjacent streets. The Council District was involved with breaking up these encampments in March 2016 and these emails document the process. They also contain a lot of fodder for future requests, since some of them list specific document numbers for Bureau of Street Services and also Sanitation Department orders and reports. It’s almost as if no one at CD13 was aware that breaking up homeless encampments puts federal money in jeopardy.
Continue reading Many, Many New Emails from CD13 About Homeless Encampments, From CD4 About the Food Coalition, and From South Park BID About Street Vending

LAPD Captain Cory Palka and Hollywood White Supremacists Have A Good Laugh Over Fucked-Up State of 77th Street Division Even as they Continue Decades-Long Tradition of Thriving on its Misery

Cory Palka, new boss of the Hollywood Division, speaks to an organized gang of exceptionally jolly white supremacists on St. Patrick's day.
Cory Palka, new boss of the Hollywood Division, speaks to an organized gang of exceptionally jolly white supremacists on St. Patrick’s day.
Watch and listen to LAPD Captain Cory Palka speaking at the most recent meeting of the Board of Directors of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance. Captain Cory recently replaced the now transferred Peter Zarcone as Hollywood honcho, and evidently a good-will-drop-in mission to the local zillionaire’s club is de rigueur in that situation.

You can read a transcript of the ongoings after the break, as always, but today we’re focusing just on a little bit of unplanned, unscripted joking around, for in such situations, according to Sigmund Freud (as our friends at Wikipedia put it), we can discern “…forbidden thoughts and feelings that the conscious mind usually suppresse[s] in deference to society.”

Har-de-fooking-har-har-har!
Har-de-fooking-har-har-har!

The fun began when Kerry Morrison, her inimitably sycophantic affect in full flower, told Cpt. Cory that she had a surprise for him! (This bit starts here).

KM: I have one fun thing to show you. When you were here, I remember you said “Ooooh! I really want one of those star placques!” So I made this up for you for 2013–2014 and then I kept texting, like I want to go down and tour 77th Division.

And Cowboy Cory Palka has a little joke about this:
CP: You don’t want to go to 77th…

Now, it’s hard to see what’s funny about that, right? We mean, really, what’s funny? But the HPOA thinks it’s fookin’ hilarious. Just watch.

We don't get the joke.  You don't get the joke.  But they get the joke.  It's a white supremacist thing, you wouldn't understand.
White people in Hollywood laughing it up about 77th Street Division.
So really, what’s so funny? There’s no clue in Cpt. Cory’s follow-up remarks, either, although we do get the sense that he almost talked about, just barely refrained from mentioning, the dreaded “those people”:

Totally different environment. My first year in 77th Street I had fifty murders and then last year I had thirty three. And I remember, I was telling my daughter we were doing some great things down there, and she was like “Great things? Man, pretty dangerous down there.” And I had ten when I left this year, so, Pete still has ten, I haven’t had any, I’ve been here, this is my second week, so, it’s just a different community and with a whole different set of challenges. Um, that’s a whole different discussion, so…

Very smart, very wise folks have been trying to decipher this kind of coded lingo forever now (as well as some very smart, not-so-very wise ones). There are whole academic departments in our finest universities filled with scholars who spend entire careers trying to explain what these people mean when they say stuff like this, not to mention why they laugh at it, so we’re probably not going to settle it here today. On the other hand, we do have a few comments, which you can find after the break.
Continue reading LAPD Captain Cory Palka and Hollywood White Supremacists Have A Good Laugh Over Fucked-Up State of 77th Street Division Even as they Continue Decades-Long Tradition of Thriving on its Misery