According to an email chain recently obtained by our correspondent, on September 24, 2015, Assemblyman Richard Bloom toured the Hollywood Entertainment District BID, accompanied by Kerry Morrison, Carol Massie, some other businessfolks, and Councildude Mitch O’Farrell. The BID Patrol usually goes around the place waking up sidewalk sleepers at 6 a.m., which is the earliest it’s legal1 to do so under the settlement in Jones v. City of Los Angeles. However, on the day of Richard’s tour Kerry directed the BID Patrol to delay the wake-up call, seemingly so that Richard could see people sleeping on the sidewalk and thereby draw the conclusions that Kerry wanted drawn. Here’s how it unfolded in the emails. On September 17 at 4:30 pm, Bloom aide Tim Harter wrote to Kerry (CC to Dan Halden of CD13):
I wanted to chat with you about morning of Sept. 24th, I believe we will be getting a tour with Captain Zarcone and the Homelessness taskforce on Thursday morning from LAPD from 8am-9am you are welcome to join if you would like nothing has been confirmed, I have been playing phone tag with Captain Zarcone. We will be at the Hollywood BID at 9am, I wanted to see if you have an idea of who will be at the meeting with us?
On December 22, 2015, the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and the hyperactive-in-a-good-way National Lawyers Guild LA filed suit in LA Superior Court against the City of Los Angeles because of egregious violations of the California Public Records Act. According to Pete White of the LA Community Action Network, the LAPD needs to “…know they need to—at a minimum—follow the laws…they tell us we need to follow.” I got copies of everything that’s been filed to date and put it all in a directory here. There’s not so much, but the initial complaint is a monster, weighing in at 180 pages. Most of that is exhibits, including a lengthy U.S. Senate report on Homeland Security funding of and involvement in domestic police spying operations and a copy of a “Special Order” authorizing an ongoing LAPD spying program and a bunch of other documents. The LAPD stuff starts on page 125 of the PDF. I’ll separate and post the various documents individually when I have time. Anyway, the petition has an excellent introduction outlining the public’s interest in the records that the group is seeking and a very tidy summary of what I know from personal experience is the maddening stubborn inactivity of the LAPD in the face of the transcendently clear mandate of the CPRA to respond to requests within 10 days. My only quibble is that I wish they’d also mentioned the LAPD’s absolute and illegal refusal to provide copies of records that they hold in electronic formats, e.g. email, in those electronic formats rather than printing them out on paper and redacting them with a marker. But they know the law and its ways better than I, so I’ll hush up about it. Continue reading Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and National Lawyers Guild LA File Suit Against City of LA Over Egregious LAPD CPRA Violations–Court Papers Available Here→
There’s not much hard news here, but there’s something. First of all the street vending lawsuit. Last week both the Fashion District BID and the City of LA asked the court for extra time to respond to the plaintiffs’ discovery requests. Because the City asked for fewer than 30 days the request is automatically granted, but the FDBID asked for more than 30 days, and so needed an order from Judge O’Connell. On the 23rdthat order was filed by the judge, who granted the FDBID an extension until January 25, 2016. Note that there’s nothing especially interesting in this document.
TL;DR is that the plaintiffs accuse the City of LA of abusing the rule requiring parties to “meet and confer” over discovery matters by providing irrelevant material and so on in order to run out the clock on discovery. I’m convinced by their arguments, but obviously I’m biased. There’s also a hyper-meta discussion on whether the fact that an attorney directs the discovery process makes the documents used to coordinate the process into privileged attorney work-product. I’m sure I missed all the fine points, but I’m definitely convinced. These people will claim privilege for anything. Shameless. Find curated selections from the pleading after the break. Continue reading Quick Updates on Two Federal Lawsuits→
Those are actual quotes in the headline. They come from this email chain between bunches of people in the Media District BID, LAPD Hollywood Division Senior Lead Officer Julie Nony, and Dan Halden of CD13. Here’s more of the context, but you’ll have to read the whole thing to believe it. Chie Kobayashi, of yet another incomprehensible new media post-production outfit on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd. and Melrose, wrote to Julie to complain in detail about homeless people. Julie wrote back:
We really need to get every business on the same page so this doesn’t continue to happen. It might seem strange and ugly at first but if you are new to the area and don’t know how things operate, this can get really out of hand. I will be out for the rest of the week, so I can not personally be there. Please call our front desk number if you should need to have a police unit come out (213-972-2971/2972/2973).
And of course call the B.I.D. first to see if they can handle it. The homeless are a lot like kids in a way. If we warn them and there is no follow through (like we did with the encampment) then they will test us and do what they can get away with. I would like to have a meeting with you, Vince Clothing, Red Studios, Milk, School PD, B.I.D., Vine Street Elementary and your neighbors just north of you. And whoever else you can think of. Lets [sic] all get together and share in the responsibility of keeping this area clean. Thank you!
We’re not sure where to start with this. We might note that it’s probably true that if kids get warned and there’s no follow through then they’ll test limits. But it’s not true because they’re kids, it’s true because they’re human. The instinct for testing limits is responsible for all human progress and is necessary for human survival.1 We might note that if your methods seem “strange and ugly at first…if you are new to the area” then there’s a reasonable chance that they are in fact strange and ugly. And their methods are very strange and very ugly. We’re not even new to the area and we think they’re strange and ugly. Some of us have grandparents who moved to Hollywood in 1908. Some of us have spent more than half a century in and around Hollywood. And yet we think the methods Julie’s talking about are strange and ugly.
I only have this little snippet of the email chain, so I don’t yet know the favor Kerry was asking nor the outcome of the ask. I have requests out for the rest, though, and I’ll provide new information as it comes in. I will say that I’d prefer that the LAPD would be concerned more with the reality of not being in the pocket of a private developer than the perception of it, but maybe that’s idealistic. And I’d say that the fact that Kerry Morrison even felt free to ask him for anything on behalf of CIM shows that probably the LAPD essentially is already “…in the pocket of a private developer.” Why did she think that asking him would yield results if similar requests in the past hadn’t already worked? My collection of BID/LAPD emails is presently too fragmentary to allow the drawing of many solid conclusions, but the amount of it that has to do with real estate is surprising.
For instance, here’s another email, this one from HPOA Assistant Boss Joseph Mariani to Hollywood cop Darrell Davis asking for info on Hollywood crime stats that a broker needs immediately to convince a client to buy in Hollywood. Again, I don’t yet know the full story, but I’m working on getting it. However, the level of familiarity that Joe displays suggests convincingly that LAPD assistance with Hollywood real estate transactions is the norm. Says Joe to Darrell: “Ideally he said he would need this today. Let me know if that’s possible. If not I’ll try and buy some time.”
I uploaded tons of emails today, some between the LAPD and the three Hollywood BIDs, some between CD13 and the Hollywood BIDs and/or the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. The LAPD emails are notable because I made the request that they were provided in response to on January 9, 2015. I have had to hassle them, complain to OIG about them, hassle them some more, bargain with them, plead with them, and finally, after more than 11 months, they actually handed over some emails. There seem to be about 16,000 pages to go, so at this rate I should have them all slightly less than 30 years from now.
At this point, by way of contrast, let me just mention that the staff at CD13, Dan Halden especially, and also Marisol Rodriguez, are helpful, honest, reliable, patient with my endless requests, and just all-round wonderful. We can all be proud that they’re part of our city government. Enough sentimentality! Without further ado, look here for the CD13 emails or download the PDFs directly: one—two—three—four. You can find the LAPD ones here or download the PDF directly here. Continue reading Lots of New Unsorted Emails Between HPOA, LAPD, the Media District BID, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, and CD13→
The Lavan case is kind of off our beat here since it’s not directly linked to BIDs, but I haven’t found any discussion in the news of pleadings filed with the court in early December, so I thought I’d upload them and note their existence here as a public service. (I don’t want to go into the details of the case, but if you’re not already familiar with them, the Argonaut has a reasonable if westside-whiny outline of the situation). On December 2, 2015, the parties to the case filed a Joint Notice of Tentative Settlement, asking Judge Philip Gutierrez to vacate the trial date due to an impending settlement:
As the Court is aware, the parties participated in a settlement conference before Magistrate Judge Woehrle on November 24, 2015, at which time they reached a tentative settlement of the remaining issues in this action. The settlement requires a four-step approval procedure by the City. That process is anticipated to take at least three months, if not longer, particularly in light of the upcoming holidays resulting in the cancellation of several meeting dates for City officials. If the settlement is approved by the City Council, the third step in the process, it then goes to the Mayor, who has 10 days to act on the proposal. The parties have agreed that, if approved by the City, the settlement will be paid at the beginning of the next fiscal year, which is July 1, 2016.
In October 2015 we wrote about a number of cases where the Andrews International Hollywood BID Patrol collected intelligence information on its perceived enemies, mostly residents of Hollywood who opposed them in some manner. Among these instances of BID Patrol spying there was a mysterious case involving a man named Eric, pictured to the right. Our faithful correspondent has recently obtained a number of emails from the LAPD, which he’s preparing for publication and plans to make available quite soon. We jumped the queue on this email,1 though, because it explains a number of lacunae in our previous post.
It’s from Kerry Morrison to LAPD officer Mark Dibell about Eric, written in September 2014, 33 months after the January 2012 surveillance photographs of the man were taken by the BID Patrol. The subject line is “A matter for Vice.” TL;DR is that Eric “…had a routine of harassing and filming the BID patrol…” and so Kerry Morrison and A/I tracked his movements, photographed him, and almost three years later, wrote to the LAPD on behalf of his new landlord, Kelly Vickers of Eastown Apartments, reporting past, evidently unsupported, allegations of “sexual misconduct…and drug use” among other things. The subject line suggests that Kerry is trying to get this guy in trouble with the Vice squad as a service to one of the property owners in the BID.
How does anyone think this is OK? How does the BID carry on a three year vendetta against this guy for filming their security guards? Sure, Kerry claims it’s because of “sexual misconduct…and drug use,” but really, if the guy was provably up to those things why all the emails and subterfuge? Why not just call the actual cops and make an actual police report like actual non-creepy-zillionaires have to do in such circumstances? It’s pretty unlikely anyway that one can move into a fancy douchebag-serving apartment paradise like Eastown without a criminal background check, so the “allegations” remain only allegations. And even if he was or is guilty of “sexual misconduct…and drug use,” how is investigating that the business of the BID Patrol? They’re freaking security guards, not spies, not detectives.