The $80,000 woman and famed co-conspirator of shady contributors and City Attorney lawsuit targets, liar and sneaky deceiver and putter of words into Mike Bonin’s mouth and subject of investigations, shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine, was the guest of honor at Wednesday’s meeting of the third creepiest BID downtown. Her appearance was recorded for this blog by an intrepid correspondent.1 The background is that the South Park BID and its little mutant offspring the South Park II BID are going to merge next year. The process is essentially as complex as starting a brand-new BID, and Tara Devine is the consultant leading the faithful through the slough of despond City bureaucracy. The South Parkies are going to miss some mandated deadline, which will cause the first year’s assessments to be billed and collected by the Los Angeles City Clerk’s office rather than by the County Assessor.
I have several questions regarding the BID. The information you provided, coupled with the information/misinformation flying around raises a couple of issues that need clearing up.
I’m interested in Mike’s opinion, as well as your own, on any or all of these.
Less than 40 minutes later, David Graham-Caso forwarded the email1 to Debbie Dyner Harris along with a terse note that said:
Can you please send this to the BID consultant to get her help with the answers?
And a mere 13 minutes after that, Debbie Dyner Harris forwarded the email2 to Tara Devine, stating:
Hi Tara. Can you please respond to her? Thanks
NOTE: This is apparently true, and Yo! Venice has the story along with a statement from Mike Bonin.
According to a Facebook post by Abbott Kinney,
BREAKING NEWS Re: the proposed Venice BID – Because the City shut off public comment, they gotta START THE WHOLE PROCESS OVER. Via City Clerk Holly Wolcott:
“The Ordinance of Establishment was adopted in Council last week. However, in light of concerns relative to the public hearing and to ensure all speakers are heard, we plan to repeal this ordinance and start the process over. This will mean a new Ordinance of Intention and a public hearing approximately 45 days from when the new ballots and packages are mailed. I do not have an actual date at this time.”1
This report is consistent with LAFLA’s objections to the process, and if true, is a major victory for anti-BID forces. Although I don’t know for sure I would bet it’s unprecedented in the history of BIDs in Los Angeles. The moral is decidedly NOT that the City made a sporadic mistake in this particular BID formation process. The moral is in fact that the City makes mistakes, breaks the law, cuts corners, all the freaking time, but generally no one is watching so their errors have no consequences. The moral is that if people watch closely they will find fatal errors in all of the City’s shenanigans.
A persistent issue in the lead-up to the Venice Beach BID has been the question of the City parcels included in the proposed boundaries. Since City parcels are always voted in favor of BID formation (although why this is is an open question), BID proponents are eager to gerrymander in as many as possible. This is a well-known tactic in the BID consultant playbook. Yesterday, however, after the Council’s shameful and probably illegal approval of the Venice Beach BID, CD11 Councilmember Mike Bonin was quoted in Yo! Venice claiming not only that there was no gerrymandering, but that there could not have been gerrymandering:
The Venice BID boundaries were determined based on the same rules as every other BID, which excludes any residentially-zoned land (but includes commercially-zoned, industrially-zoned and government/public facilities-zoned parcels). The BID proponents decided to include all of the property that is eligible for assessment west of Abbot Kinney (which already has a Merchant’s Association that functions similarly to a BID). This is consistent with state and local law.
This statement is disingenuous at best. Sure, an engineer’s report is required, and there has to be a justification of why the boundaries are set where they’re set, but the “rules” that Bonin seems to be claiming ensure fairness only say which properties can’t be included. They don’t say anything about where the boundaries have to go. So the decision to include a strip of Venice Blvd, notably bereft of businesses of any kind, into the BID is allowed under state law and can be justified easily enough in the report since it’s not residential, but it’s hard to see any purpose for this other than to increase the City presence in the BID, which is certainly gerrymandering. 1 Finally, note that Bonin seems to be intentionally conflating the idea that the boundaries were “determined” by state law with the idea that they’re “consistent with state” law. If boundaries are determined there’s no choice. There are many choices among things that are consistent with the law. Continue reading Newly Obtained Emails Suggest that CD11 Had Significant Input Regarding Inclusion And Assessment of City Parcels In BID Despite Bonin, Staff Denials That This Is So→
A collaborative denunciation of Business Improvement Districts in Los Angeles