Tag Archives: Westwood Village BID

The City Council Seems To Have Lost Its Grip On Reality With Its Latest Motions On Street Vending — They Want To Keep All Previously Proposed Exclusionary Zones But Change Justification From “Zillionaires Asked For It” To “Objective Health, Safety, Or Welfare Concerns” — And Paul Koretz — Who Evidently Doesn’t Believe That Words Have Meaning — Wants To Exclude A Bunch Of BIDs On The Same Implausible Grounds — This Is Obviously Going To End Up In Court

As you no doubt know, the City of Los Angeles has been arguing about legalizing street vending for years in the face of fiercely unhinged opposition to the very idea from business improvement districts and other organized gangs of zillionaire thugs. But then the whole debate was mooted by a lightning strike from Sacramento in the form of Ricardo Lara’s SB-946, signed into law by Jerry Brown in September, which imposed a set of really stringent restrictions on the form that municipal street vending regulation can take. And not surprisingly, pretty much every dirty trick that the BIDs and their buddies forced into our City’s proposal was banned by Lara’s bill.

In particular, the BIDdies had managed to get the Council to agree that street vending could be banned in any neighborhood in Los Angeles merely because their councilmember asked for it. This serves BIDdies well, of course, because their repsters will do whatever it is that they ask in order to keep the firehose of campaign contributions turned up to eleven. By the end there they’d managed to enshrine such indefensible no-vending zones as Hollywood Boulevard and recommend that BIDs should be able to charge vendors for the privilege of operating on public streets.1

But this nonsense was switched right off by Lara’s bill, which states unequivocally that:

A local authority shall not require a sidewalk vendor to operate within specific parts of the public right-of-way, except when that restriction is directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns.

And right after the bill was signed it appeared as though our esteemed City Council was taking this matter seriously. They passed a motion ordering the City Attorney to draft an ordinance that would comply with Lara’s law. But such sporadic spurts of sanity swiftly scatter around here.

And thus it wasn’t really a surprise to hear renowned bigamist and CD9 repster Curren Price on the radio yesterday talking about how Council would be able to keep all the previously proposed no-vending zones and even add more and the only difference would be, according to super-genius Curren Price, that “now we’re going to have to base them on health, safety, and welfare concerns.”2 And turn the page to read all about the drastically deep dive into the crazy vat revealed by this one little stray comment!
Continue reading The City Council Seems To Have Lost Its Grip On Reality With Its Latest Motions On Street Vending — They Want To Keep All Previously Proposed Exclusionary Zones But Change Justification From “Zillionaires Asked For It” To “Objective Health, Safety, Or Welfare Concerns” — And Paul Koretz — Who Evidently Doesn’t Believe That Words Have Meaning — Wants To Exclude A Bunch Of BIDs On The Same Implausible Grounds — This Is Obviously Going To End Up In Court

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Emmy Winning Studio City BID Zeck Dreck Dr. John Walker Ph.D. Is Quitting — Mike Bonin Field Deputy Taylor Bazley Applied For His Job — Listed Shadowy Venice Beach BID Boss Tara Devine As A Reference — John Walker Told Hiring Committee What A Loser Tara Devine Is And Maybe Her Recommendation Wasn’t Valuable — And She Wasn’t Returning Their Calls Anyway — Plus Kerry Morrison Was All Like Taylor Who?!?! —It Seems That The Position Is Still Unfilled — Except That These BIDdies Violate The Brown Act Constantly So They May Well Have Filled It In Secret

Right now there is no BID more interesting to me in the entire City of Los Angeles than the Studio City BID. I mean, I dropped by one of their furtive little meetings last month and one of their directors, famously angry clown Matthew Dunn, was so rattled by my presence that he stormed out of his own meeting.1 And then they committed such an astonishing series of so very flagrant violations of the Brown Act that I was forced to send them a demand letter asking them to pinky swear that they’d never do it again.

And man, when it comes to his CPRAiatic duties, SCBID zeck dreck Dr. John Walker Ph.D.2 is a freaking pain in that thing that writers often resort to mentioning pains in for metaphorical purposes, but once in a while a few items trickle through the border wall as they did yesterday when he, or at least his pocky little minion Damian Gatto, sent over a few righteous goodies! And amongst these was this announcement from June 2018 in which the Studio City BID gave notice to the BID Consortium that it was hiring a replacement for Emmy-winning Zeck Dreck Dr. John Walker!! There is a transcription of this remarkable document after the break.

And then the applications started rolling in! The first applicant I have information about was evidently Ms. Vicki Nussbaum, who used to be the executive director of the Sherman Oaks BID and may still be for all I know, but is at least also the executive director of the Century City BID.3 You’ll hear more about this lady’s application quite soon, but not today.4

And the next applicant that I know anything about is our old friend Taylor Freaking Bazley! That’s right, Mike Bonin’s creepy little field deputy for Venice, deeply implicated in the horror show that is the Venice Beach BID, is out looking for another job! Do his friends at CD11 know about this?! Probably not, because he obviously isn’t using them as references! You can read everything I know in this September 12, 2018 email from SCBID Board member Ben Besley5 to John Walker, Board president Tony Richman, and fellow hiring committee members Barry Wise and Dean Cutler.

Here’s the story in brief, and you will find detailed discussion and transcriptions of all relevant emails after the break! About a month ago Taylor Bazley interviewed for the job. After his interview he sent a sycophantic thanks-friend! email to Board president Tony Richman about how the committee’s shit smelled like roses and so on.6 Also, he seems to have given shadowy BID president Tara Devine’s name as a reference. The hiring committee evidently found it difficult to get in touch with Tara Devine. Finally, Ben Besley got an email from admin@venicebeachbid.com, a well-known pseudonym of Ms. Tara Devine, splaining that Tara Devine was too busy to talk to him right now but maybe later!

Then John Walker weighed in with a story about how TD was being investigated for not spending BID money properly and also how the SCBID didn’t hire her to be their renewal consultant because she charged too damn much. He closed this defamational little missive with the defamer’s favorite excuse: “This is not meant to sway your investigation but I think you should be aware of some history.” So yeah, just another example of how the Los Angeles BID world is like one big seething daisy chain but without the sex.7 Turn the page for transcriptions of all relevant material!
Continue reading Emmy Winning Studio City BID Zeck Dreck Dr. John Walker Ph.D. Is Quitting — Mike Bonin Field Deputy Taylor Bazley Applied For His Job — Listed Shadowy Venice Beach BID Boss Tara Devine As A Reference — John Walker Told Hiring Committee What A Loser Tara Devine Is And Maybe Her Recommendation Wasn’t Valuable — And She Wasn’t Returning Their Calls Anyway — Plus Kerry Morrison Was All Like Taylor Who?!?! —It Seems That The Position Is Still Unfilled — Except That These BIDdies Violate The Brown Act Constantly So They May Well Have Filled It In Secret

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Newly Published Emails From Westwood Village BID Reveal Lobbyists’ Interest In Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Process — BID Zeck Dreck Andrew Thomas’s Clueless Ideas About Role Of BIDs In Civic Life — Michael Skiles Gets Cast As The Savior Of His People And Finds That, In His Opinion Anyway, The Role Really Suits Him! — Oh, P.S.! In His Crack-Headed Zealous Attempt To Obstruct My Free Inspection Of Records Andrew Thomas Ends Up Costing The BID $4.50 Per Page For Me To Obtain Copies For Free

I published a first batch of emails from the Westwood Village BID last month, and they’re available here on Archive.Org. As you’ll recall, Andrew Thomas, duly following the nonsensical instructions of the BID’s lawyer, the ballistical barrister of Burbank and anger-management poster child, that is to say Ms. Carol F. Humiston,1 insisted on printing out 90% of these emails, crossing out about one email address per page to justify his unsupportable foolishness, and then proposing to charge me $0.10 per page for copies of the paper.

Of course, they can’t prevent one from inspecting for free,2 and thus, because I now understand the issues involved in the whole Westwood Forward debacle far better as a result of reading the records I already obtained,3 and could therefore benefit greatly from additional review of this material, I zipped out to the Village yesterday morning to look through the goodies yet again!

And although in June, when we first began this quiet slow motion struggle, Andrew Thomas, in clear violation of the law, forbade me from photographing records, evidently Ms. Carol Humiston has cleared that up in his minionesque little mind, and so now, while he and his security guard are sitting there burning $125 per hour watching me inspect, I am able to copy the records for free.4

And that’s exactly what I did yesterday morning, and I came away with 44 pages of exceedingly interesting material, which you can peruse here on Archive.Org. It’s all good stuff, and I’ll be writing about all of it eventually, but today there are three especially interesting subjects to cover. They’re outlined in the headline, of course, and turn the page for the gory-glory details!
Continue reading Newly Published Emails From Westwood Village BID Reveal Lobbyists’ Interest In Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Process — BID Zeck Dreck Andrew Thomas’s Clueless Ideas About Role Of BIDs In Civic Life — Michael Skiles Gets Cast As The Savior Of His People And Finds That, In His Opinion Anyway, The Role Really Suits Him! — Oh, P.S.! In His Crack-Headed Zealous Attempt To Obstruct My Free Inspection Of Records Andrew Thomas Ends Up Costing The BID $4.50 Per Page For Me To Obtain Copies For Free

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Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Says LAPD Continues Along The Path To Peace Paved 60 Years Ago By Ghandi [sic] And MLK — Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Is Surprised That UCLA Students Drag Feet With Respect To Hosting Cop Discussion Group Because “This Seems Unusual For A School That Usually Participates In Protests” — Evidently Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Is Now Assigned To The “Community Relationship Division” Of The LAPD Trying To Head Off Riots Before They Begin — TLDR: Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Is A Lizard-Loving Moron

As you’re probably aware I have been trying to understand the situation with the Westwood Village BID and the Westwood Neighborhood Council and all them uppity UCLA students who want more bars open more hours.1 But, as you’re probably also aware, Westwood Village BID Boss BIDdie Andrew Lloyd Thomas, probably under the reeking influence of his lawyer, the ballistic barrister of Burbank, which is to say Carol Freaking Humiston, is really, really less than forthcoming with public records.2

One useful strategy for combating the kind of rabid knee-jerk obstructionism practiced by Carol Humiston’s zombie clients is to request records involving them from every possible agency that might have any. This may give access to the records more quickly.3 It’s also possible that this strategy will reveal interesting but hitherto unsuspected issues.

And that’s exactly what happened when I hit up UCLA for emails between their campus coppers and the WVBID. I threw in LAPD for good measure because LAPD is always interesting, and I got a small pile of emails, which you can find here on Archive.Org. Surprisingly, there were a bunch of emails between an old frenemy of this blog, Senior Lead Officer Julie Nony, a UCPD cop name of Kevin Kilgore, and a bunch of random undergraduate student government types.4

The short version is that Julie Nony was trying to get the students to host some blabbermouth jive known as Days of Dialogue and she was surprised that students were dragging their feet about it because everyone knows they’re a bunch of damn bomb throwing radical firebrands who would totally be interested in sitting down with some cops and having a conversation like this:

  1. Non-cops: Hey, we’re scared you’re going to kill us when we’re just walking to the corner to buy milk.
  2. Cops: I hear what you’re saying which is that you’re scared we’re going to kill you when you’re just walking to the corner to buy some milk.
  3. ????
  4. World Peace!!

Turn the page for the long version and transcriptions of the relevant emails.
Continue reading Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Says LAPD Continues Along The Path To Peace Paved 60 Years Ago By Ghandi [sic] And MLK — Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Is Surprised That UCLA Students Drag Feet With Respect To Hosting Cop Discussion Group Because “This Seems Unusual For A School That Usually Participates In Protests” — Evidently Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Is Now Assigned To The “Community Relationship Division” Of The LAPD Trying To Head Off Riots Before They Begin — TLDR: Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Is A Lizard-Loving Moron

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How Andrew Thomas And Carol Humiston Conspired To Spend At Least A Thousand Dollars Of Other People’s Money All To Teach Me A Lesson About The Costs Of Exercising My Rights Under The Public Records Act — How’s It Working Out For Them? — Probably Not So Well In The Long Run

NOTE: This post is turning out to be way longer than I thought, so I figured I’d better link to the actual public records it’s based on up here at the top. New for your perusal and edification are three contracts between the Westwood Village BID and various persons, including Exec Direc Andrew Lloyd Thomas and the BID security provider. Read ’em and weep, friends.

While you all have been enjoying my recent reporting on the Westwood Village BIDdies and their conspiracy with a bunch of UCLA students who feel like the boring homeowners on the Westwood Neighborhood Council don’t approve of enough liquor licenses and happy hours in the Village and whatnot, there has actually been a whole other story seething below the surface, some aspects of which I am writing today to tell you about!

You see, this isn’t just about me, the California Public Records Act, and Andrew Thomas, but also about Andrew Thomas’s lawyer, Carol Humiston, the ballistic barrister of Burbank.1 Carol Humiston,2 who lawyers for a lot of BIDs, has this CPRA system which she evidently believes is going to learn me not to bother her clients any more.3 Well, aside from the fact that no one’s managed to learn me anything since about 1974, her fanaticism ends up needlessly costing her clients a ton of money.4
Continue reading How Andrew Thomas And Carol Humiston Conspired To Spend At Least A Thousand Dollars Of Other People’s Money All To Teach Me A Lesson About The Costs Of Exercising My Rights Under The Public Records Act — How’s It Working Out For Them? — Probably Not So Well In The Long Run

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How Andrew Thomas, The Famous-For-Dressing-Like-A-Child-Molester Exec-Direc Of The Westwood Village BID, Conspired With Michael Skiles To Hold The North Westwood NC Subdivision Election On A Weekday — And How The City Clerk Ruled Out Multiple Election Days Due To Security Concerns — Which The City Government Probably Gleefully Intended For The Skid Row Subdivision Election

You may recall that I recently received a moderately sized set of public records from the Westwood Village BID, some of which I wrote about the other day. You can look at the whole collection here on Archive.Org,1 and one of these is the text for today’s sermon, a conversation amongst Michael Skiles, Grayce Liu of the Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment, and Lisa Chapman, president of the Westwood Neighborhood Council.

There’s a transcription and more commentary after the break, of course, but here’s a brief summary of what went on. Lisa Chapman wrote to Grayce Liu telling her that she heard Michael Skiles say that Westwood Forward did not choose the date of the election, which was not on a weekend as NC elections usually are. Grayce Liu wrote back in her inimitably condescending manner saying some nonsense that sane people can barely credit.

Michael Skiles wrote to Grayce Liu thanking her in his inimitably sycophantic manner and explaining that weekday elections were agreed on by him and Andrew Freaking Thomas, who sane people want to know why is this guy involved at all? What, we all want to know, do BIDs have to do with making detailed decisions like this about NC matters?

Then, the absolute kicker, Grayce Liu wrote back to Michael Skiles stating that the City Clerk forbade subdivision elections to be spread out over multiple days “because of voter security issues.” Of course, this is horrific and shocking given that for the Skid Row NC subdivision election Grayce Liu herself allowed putative pop-up polls to take place on multiple days in multiple locations including restricted access buildings emphatically NOT open to the public. And now no one at the City can actually audit the votes cast in that election, which suggests strongly that there were very serious, as yet undiscovered, “voter security issues,” which no one at the City cares about.

But of course, “voter security issues” are going to be cosmically important in elections like this Westwood one, where zillionaires and their financial interests fall on both sides of the question. In a case like Westwood, because zillionares disagree, every vote truly does count, so the most secure practices must be followed by the City, and the City recognizes this. In a case like Skid Row, where the zillionaires were unified on one side, voter security would have just gotten in the way of stealing the election. Anyway, read on for the details.
Continue reading How Andrew Thomas, The Famous-For-Dressing-Like-A-Child-Molester Exec-Direc Of The Westwood Village BID, Conspired With Michael Skiles To Hold The North Westwood NC Subdivision Election On A Weekday — And How The City Clerk Ruled Out Multiple Election Days Due To Security Concerns — Which The City Government Probably Gleefully Intended For The Skid Row Subdivision Election

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One Outcome Of The Unholy Alliance Between North Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Advocate Michael Skiles And Dresses-Like-A-Child-Molester Biddy-Boy Andrew Thomas Was That Skiles Changed The Bylaws To Give Zillionaires Even More Representation Just Cause Thomas Asked Him To — Which Might Be The Kind Of Thing That Andrew Thomas Wants To Cover Up Via His Myriad Surreal CPRA Violations — Although That Relies On Dubious Assumption That The Guy Feels Shame

Maybe you heard about the movement to subdivide the Westwood Neighborhood Council and form the North Westwood Neighborhood Council. This subdivision was led by UCLA students calling themselves Westwood Forward, with incipient philosopher Michael Skiles, whose academic specialty is, of all things, action theory, at the helm. The City held an election in May and the subdivision was approved.

However, unlike the heartrending pain created by the sinister schemings of zillionaires in Skid Row and environs last year, the local Westwood zillionaires were all eleventy jillion percent in favor of this particular subdivision. The reason seems to be a widely shared perception that students will be much more in favor of building more residential megaplexes and handing out more liquor licenses than the mostly über-füddy-düddy single family house dwellers on the regular Westwood NC have proved to be over the last few decades.1

Knowing all this, it occurred to me in March 2018 that the Westwood Village BID might be involved in this whole subdivision thing and, with that in mind, I fired off a CPRA request to them asking for the goodies. After many painful months of lawyers, recriminations, stupidity, frustration, and whatever,2 Andrew Thomas, the BID’s executive director, who, incidentally, dresses surprisingly like a child molester,3 finally coughed up some small percentage of the records to which I’m entitled.

Check out the whole collection here on Archive.Org. In particular, though, for tonight’s sermon, take a look at this little gem (of which there is a transcription after the break), which reveals Andrew Thomas as the puppet master pulling the strings that make Michael Skiles dance. And the tune he’s dancing to is, you’ll not be surprised to learn, all about more seats for zillionaires on the new neighborhood council’s board of directors. And Michael Skiles not only dances to the tune, but he dances like he likes dancing! He’ll go far in academia, friends.
Continue reading One Outcome Of The Unholy Alliance Between North Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Advocate Michael Skiles And Dresses-Like-A-Child-Molester Biddy-Boy Andrew Thomas Was That Skiles Changed The Bylaws To Give Zillionaires Even More Representation Just Cause Thomas Asked Him To — Which Might Be The Kind Of Thing That Andrew Thomas Wants To Cover Up Via His Myriad Surreal CPRA Violations — Although That Relies On Dubious Assumption That The Guy Feels Shame

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More Than Two Months After Its Business Improvement District Came Into Being, The Venice Beach Property Owners’ Association Has Not Yet Signed An Administration Contract With The City Of Los Angeles, But A Comparison With Other Recent BID Establishments Suggests That This May Not Mean Much

Carl Lambert, officer of the Venice Beach Property Owners Association, as he might have appeared on the cover of the late lamented Berkeley Barb which, given the parallel tragedies which have befallen both Berkeley and Venice, is kind of appropriate in a way sorta kinda..
Well, since the first of the year, I have been obsessively checking the contract search tab of the City Clerk’s Council File Management System for any sign of an agreement between the City and the Venice Beach Property Owners Association, as that criminal conspiracy between Carl Lambert and his unindicted co-conspirators Mark Sokol and Steve Heumann is known to the world, for the administration of the Venice Beach BID. The CFMS1 is an essential tool, but its built-in search engine is freaking horrible, and it seems even horribler2 when searching contracts. So the fact that no contract popped up day after day after day didn’t exactly fill me with confidence in the theory that no such contract existed.

But today, after two freaking months with no sign of it, I finally emailed the ever-helpful3 Shannon Hoppes to ask if there was a contract or not. She answered quickly and told me that there was not yet any such thing. Well, hope springs and so on. Into my head sprang joyous visions of Carl Lambert and his infernal BID-buddies Mark Sokol and Steve Heumann being so overwhelmed with the furor and pushback called into being by their infernal BID that they took their BID-ball and went home. They are being sued, their shadowy BID consultant, the Divine Ms. Tara Devine, has as shaky a grasp on the law and also on the truth and also on basic human decency as her freaking clients, and maybe the pressure was all just too much for them, mused I.

But it also occurred to me that maybe it didn’t mean anything, and it was just runna-the-mill incompetence and sloth. So I decided to check out other recent BID establishments and compare. What I found proves that, while there has been a longer than average delay between the establishment of the VBBID and the signing of the contract, it’s not an outlier, nor is it the longest such lag time among property-based BIDs established in the last few years. Thus while this at-least-two-month delay between the BID establishment may yet turn out to be a sign of good things to come with respect to this BID, for now it’s not possible to draw any conclusions at all about it. Turn the page for the technical details.
Continue reading More Than Two Months After Its Business Improvement District Came Into Being, The Venice Beach Property Owners’ Association Has Not Yet Signed An Administration Contract With The City Of Los Angeles, But A Comparison With Other Recent BID Establishments Suggests That This May Not Mean Much

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That Time in 2005 When The City of Los Angeles Briefly Investigated BID Financial Shenanigans And Contract Violations Instead Of Pretending They’re Powerless In The Face Of Them Like They Do Now

Former Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick (right).
Former Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick (right).
Here’s the situation these days. BIDs have a standard contract that they sign with the City of Los Angeles. It has a lot of requirements in it, and BIDs routinely ignore all of them but a few, known as the “reporting requirements.” I’m skipping the details, but they’re mandated to report various things to the City, and if they don’t then Rick Scott or another one of Miranda Paster’s minions in the Neighborhood & Business Improvement District Division (N&BID) of the Clerk’s office will fire off a threatening email like this one telling the negligent BIDdies to cough up the report or they don’t get paid. On the other hand, there are plenty of clauses in that contract, e.g. the ones on record retention and on abiding by the Public Records Act or the Brown Act, that BIDs not only violate with impunity, but which the City Clerk’s office in the persons of Miranda Paster and Holly Wolcott actually just refuses to enforce. I’ll be writing about that more in the future. Tonight I’m just looking at how it came to pass that N&BID staff even enforce any parts of that contract.
Continue reading That Time in 2005 When The City of Los Angeles Briefly Investigated BID Financial Shenanigans And Contract Violations Instead Of Pretending They’re Powerless In The Face Of Them Like They Do Now

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Los Angeles BIDs To Be Audited by the City Every Three Years According to City Clerk’s April 2016 RFQ, Published At Direction of Council. Also City to Spend $250,000 Promoting BIDs and Training BID People.

Holly Wolcott, Clerk of the City of Los Angeles
Holly Wolcott, Clerk of the City of Los Angeles
One of the advantages that zillionaires have over humans with respect to City politics is that they can hire innumerable minions to keep up with the firehose of crap spewed forth by City Hall, certainly in an effort to keep the minion-deprived majority too busy to address everything. Which is my half-serious, half-silly1 excuse for only having noticed this evening the two matters addressed in this post.

First we have Council File 14-0903, in which Holly Wolcott asked for and received an “amount not to exceed $100,000 …for a period of two years with two one-year extensions to assist with the creation and implementation and coordination of a Public Information Campaign” having to do with how fricking great BIDs are for the City of L.A. Additionally they’re getting “an amount not to exceed $150,000 … for a period of two years with two one-year extensions to assist with the creation and implementation of a capacity building and leadership training series relative to business improvement districts and create public/private partnerships with other nonprofit organizations..” None of this seems like very much money given (a) the amount of truth they’re going to have to overcome in order to achieve the first goal and (b) the amount of sheer incompetence and bloody-mindedness to achieve the second. Brace yourself for the incoming propaganda!

Second, and much more interesting, we have this Request for Qualifications, issued by the Clerk in April 2016 asking for people to submit proposals to audit BIDs. There must be a council file associated with this item, but I can’t locate it. Here’s some background. First of all, the standard contract that BIDs sign with the City allows the City to audit BIDs at will.2 This is rarely done. In fact, as far as I can tell, it has only happened twice, both times in 2005, when then-Controller Laura Chick audited both the Central City East Association and also the Westwood Village BID. The details of those audits are worth reading, although I’m not going to write about them tonight.3 However, Controller Chick made some observations then that are still relevant today:
Continue reading Los Angeles BIDs To Be Audited by the City Every Three Years According to City Clerk’s April 2016 RFQ, Published At Direction of Council. Also City to Spend $250,000 Promoting BIDs and Training BID People.

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