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.
Well, the meeting took place, although I was not able to attend. The indefatigable Margaret Molloy recorded some selections, though, and has published them on her YouTube Channel. I have not watched all of them yet, but I’ve watched some of them, and it’s not a pretty sight, friends. These Venice BIDdies are a bunch of bad, bad babies.
The third meeting focused on nonprofit organizations that lobby the City. I wasn’t able to make it, but fortunately for all of us, it was recorded by Bobby Buck, a brave citizen journalist. He posted his recording on YouTube for all to watch and listen. The main issue under discussion here is which 501(c)(3) organizations will be exempt from the registration and disclosure requirements of the MLO. Currently the law at §48.03(E) presently exempts 501(c)(3)s from the requirements if they receive:
… funding from any federal, state or local government agency for the purpose of representing the interests of indigent persons and whose primary purpose is to provide direct services to those persons, if the individual or individuals represented by the organization before any City agency provide no payment to the organization for that representation.
The Ethics Commission staff is proposing1 that this be tightened up to exempt only:
501(c)(3) organizations that receive government funding and are created primarily to provide basic life assistance to disadvantaged clients at a rate that is significantly below market (and their employees engaged in the same activity).
Recall, if you will, that in July 2016 Carol Sobel filed suit in federal court on behalf of Los Angeles photographer Shawn Nee against the City of LA, Charlie Beck, and various LAPD officers, including Hollywood Division stalwart Stuart Jaye, famously dubbed Officer A-Hole by the incomparable Jasmyne Cannick.
This summer, thinking about the important role that LACAN’s pictures and video of LA Sanitation’s aggressive clean-ups of homeless encampments downtown have played in e.g. Mitchell v. Los Angeles, it occurred to me that it ought to be possible to get advance notice of encampment cleaning actions from the City via the California Public Records Act. Well, like everything involving CPRA, it turned out to be far more complicated than one might expect in advance.
Amazingly, Sanitation did supply me with materials. It was just the part about getting them in advance of the clean ups that was difficult. On August 5 I asked for the first time. On August 17 they asked for an extension. On September 13, after a certain amount of wheedling on my part, they sent me material for July and August, and a few days later, partial material for September. Still nothing in advance, though:
This would be unbelievable if the whole thing weren’t captured on video. On November 23, 2015, at least four BID Patrol security guards (Mike Coogle, along with Wissman, Tizano, and Cox) confronted a man who was sitting on the sidewalk in front of the Metro Red Line station at Hollywood and Vine. They talked to him for almost four minutes, during which time he didn’t answer their questions and mostly ignored them. At 3:55 in the video one officer says to another “you want him?” The other says yes, so they grab him and push him over.
Soon all four of them are piled on top of him and trying to put handcuffs on him. Coogle claimed that the man kicked him during this episode, and ultimately they didn’t even arrest him for violating LAMC 41.18(d). Instead they arrested him for battery for kicking Coogle. When LAPD officers Adams (#34837) and Galicia (#41404) showed up and accepted the man into custody with the approval of their supervisor, LAPD Sgt. Chuck Slater. You can read the full story in the arrest report, although it doesn’t answer the main question I have about this incident: How did the LAPD decide to arrest Jones for battery rather than the BID Patrol officers?
Last year, apparently on August 7,1 the BID Patrol drove one of their BIDmobiles eastbound on the 6300 block of Homewood Avenue. The driver of the vehicle, holding a Kodak Playsport Video Camera, Zx5, filmed the north side of the street as he drove the vehicle. You can watch the whole video here.
One huge problem with this scenario is that, as you can see from the image of the camera, Kodak Playsports have a video monitor that shows what’s being recorded.2 Now, take a look at California Vehicle Code section 27602, which plainly states:
A person shall not drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driver’s seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.
“Hold your beer up. HOLD YOUR BEER UP. And smile, if you want to.” These are the words of an anonymous1 BID Patrol officer caught on video confronting a homeless woman on Hollywood Boulevard about the fact that she’s drinking in public. However, this is more than a particularly lurid demonstration of the BID Patrol’s almost ludicrously unprofessional reign of misrule in Hollywood. It also helps shed some light on a long-standing mystery about just how many people the BID Patrol arrested in 2015.
The phrase “Al Ref” almost certainly refers to “alcohol referrals.” These were discussed by Steve Seyler at the March 2015 Joint Security Committee meeting, where he stated:
We are starting to see some early trends. Arrests are down by 56 compared to this time last year. This is largely due to a strategy change in our enforcement of drinking in public. These arrests have accounted for about 60% of our arrest year after year. That number is holding true for this year as well. We still believe that it is important to curtail public drinking as this has a direct effect on assaults and other crimes.
Our new approach involves more warnings and more importantly referrals. We have
made 56 such referrals so far. If the person is agreeable, we give them a warning and
information about local Alcoholic Anonymous meetings and other resources. We will
attempt to gather data to see if this will bring positive results.