When Assemblyman Richard Bloom Toured Hollywood in September 2015, Kerry Morrison Suspended Enforcement of LAMC 41.18(d) for his Benefit, Blamed Prop 47 for Ruining Lives, Put into Question her Commitment to Truth, Decency, Equal Protection, Appearing Sane

Richard Bloom, former mayor of Santa Monica, prepares to ask the questions he's been asked to ask.
Richard Bloom, former mayor of Santa Monica, prepares to ask the questions he’s been asked to ask.
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):

Kerry,

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?

Well, that didn’t mesh with Kerry’s plans at all. You see, she’d arranged things so that Richard would see what she wanted him to see, and the 9 a.m. time messed up her carefully arranged Potemkin encampments. She got a little pushy about it, too:


Hi Dan and Tim,

We had the BID Patrol on deck to do a tour of the neighborhood at 8 a.m. Is that feasible? Normally they go out and wake up encampments at 6 a.m., and on that morning, they are going to wait, but it is likely by 9 a.m. many will be up.

Is 8 a.m. a possibility?

Kerry

Now, every morning the BID Patrol goes out and wakes people up at 6 a.m. But why do they do it? We’d like to think that it’s because someone over there thinks it’s important to wake them up. Like that there’s a reason for it. But if it’s more important that Richard Bloom see the homeless than it is to wake them up and shoo them off, then it’s reasonable to conclude that whatever purpose is being furthered by waking them up is furthered even more by not waking them up so that Richard Bloom can see them. So much so, in fact, that Kerry Morrison doesn’t want him to wait until 9 a.m. when they’ll already be awake on their own. The only reason we can think of that fits these facts is that the BIDdies are mean as hell and they want to get every last homeless person out of the BID by any means necessary.

It’s quite crazy, but it’s also very wicked. That is, it’s legal, for whatever reason, to wake people up at 6 a.m., so the BID Patrol does it. But when it suits their political purposes they let them sleep until 8 a.m. It’s well-known that selective enforcement of laws is a tool of oppression and is certainly illegal. There’s no question that sleeping on the sidewalk in Los Angeles violates the reprehensible LAMC 41.18(d). So people can be arrested for it. But they can’t be randomly arrested or not arrested based on extrinsic motives. It defies both sense and the constitution. We suppose that this is how to tell the difference between a real crime and a phony made-up status-based harassment tool. No one says “well, we’ll just stop enforcing the laws against armed robbery so people can see how bad things are.” Oh, wait! In LA they sometimes do exactly that. Kerry Morrison ought to know better though, with that fine high-toned private-school education of hers, but time after time after time it turns out that she just doesn’t.

Which brings us to a last little tangent. Tim Harter asked Kerry to answer a few questions. She interpolated her responses in her reply email. We reproduce some of the exchange below, with Tim’s questions in blue and Kerry’s responses in black:

What do the business leaders want to talk to Richard about? (Rise in Hollywood Homelessness yes but, what specifically?)
There appears to be more individuals living on a
[sic] streets now, as compared to a year ago. Seems that we are in the midst of a new trend—and hard to put a finger on what is going on.

Because of the perceived violence and erratic behavior, business leaders are concerned because they are hearing from their tenants, potential tenants, employees and customers about an increasing fear to come to Hollywood/do business in Hollywood/live in Hollywood. This is a reversal of a trend that we’ve been working for more than a decade to address. Hollywood has had a number of public safety challenges in the last five years or so (nightclub violence, some gang activity, violence associated with mental illness) but this is a new trend.

It never fails to shock us, the lack of a sense of history that not just Kerry Morrison but all these BID people display. She’s been the boss of the HPOA for twenty years now. She started in 1996 when the BID started. She can’t seriously think there’s more “violence and erratic behavior” in Hollywood than there was five years ago, let alone ten, let alone whenever. But, ah! She doesn’t. Note that she’s talking about perceived violence and erratic behavior”. That is, she and her BID have raised expectations to the point where seeing a strung-out crazy person talking to himself on a Hollywood sidewalk seems strange. That’s possibly true, but why does anyone think politicians should do anything about the failure of delusions created by real estate zillionaires to comport with reality?

And this lack of a sense of history is so pervasive that we think it really must have some utility. That is, it serves Kerry’s purpose to forget the past, and that, in turn, yields clues to what her purpose is. It’s still not clear, but we think it must at least include the creation and maintenance of an atmosphere of urgency and growing chaos which, in turn, justifies more security, more regulation, more oppression. This is a thesis we’re only beginning to work out, and you should see more about it here at some point. Finally, note her use of the word “individuals” here. We’ll be coming back to it.

What are the specific issues? (Violence, drug usage increase, etc.)
[Blah-de-fookin-blah-needles-mental-illness-younger-hobos-de-blah-blah-blah]


What has the city done to mitigate these concerns?
[blah blah blah]
One concern we have is that the “permissive culture” that has resulted from ACLU lawsuits may be sending the message that living on the streets in LA is tolerated more than other cities.
[blah blah blah]

Read about ACLU co-founder Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and laugh about the idea that the ACLU is a champion of "permissive culture."
Read about ACLU co-founder Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and laugh about the idea that the ACLU is a champion of “permissive culture.”
You read that right. Kerry Morrison just blamed the ACLU for LA’s homeless problem. It’s not the fact that she and her zillionaire real estate developer buddies are turning SRO housing into mixed use yuppie bullshit hive-dwellings at warpspeed seven. It’s not that throughout the last 115 years they’ve created and profited from racist, classist distortions of the real estate market in Los Angeles which promote homelessness. It’s not even the fact that they are illegally mass-evicting their tenants to run illegal AirBnB operations. None of that stuff that sociologists are babbling on about: it’s the ACLU creating a “permissive culture”!

Speaking of that “permissive culture,” see how she embeds arguments into her statements? It’s not that she wonders whether ACLU lawsuits may have created a “permissive culture,” but it’s taken as a fact that they did create it and then she wonders what message it’s sending. Very sneaky rhetoric-fu, Kerry, and also a known fallacy. Also, she’s probably thinking of the National Lawyers Guild rather than the ACLU.2 Not that it matters whether we’ve always been at war with Northeastasia or with Southeastasia, the point is that we’ve always been at war. We suppose one could make a case that the ACLU used to fight for “permissive culture” (when they weren’t covering themselves in shame by devouring their founders), but anymore in Los Angeles they’re mostly collaborating with the LAPD to make police surveillance more efficient rather than fighting for the right of crazy people to shoot up on Hollywood Boulevard like in the good old days.

Furthermore, this idea that lawsuits like Jones v. City of Los Angeles and Lavan, which are what we assume she’s talking about, have not, can not have, made Los Angeles more attractive to homeless people. As we and every other sane person who’s examined the issue have said repeatedly, the city of Los Angeles has this law, LAMC 41.18(d), which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has called “one of the most restrictive municipal laws regulating public spaces in the United States.” This law makes Los Angeles less tolerant than anywhere else of the homeless. Even if the law were suspended entirely, Los Angeles would only go back to being just as intolerant as everywhere else, it couldn’t actually get more tolerant. And the law isn’t suspended entirely, it’s only suspended from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. That’s nine hours. So for nine hours a day Los Angeles is as tolerant as everywhere else in the country towards living on the streets and for fifteen hours a day it’s far less tolerant. On average, then, even with the lawsuits, L.A. is still worse. Got it?

What would you like our office to do to address them?
[blah blah blah]
Second, can someone do a definitive study as to whether one of the unintended consequences of Prop 47 resulted in a permissive drug culture which is destroying lives?

Third, is the uptick in violent behavior linked in any way to realignment–we don’t want to jump to conclusions, but if there are people leaving the criminal justice systems with limited access to employment and housing, this has made the situation worse.
[blah blah blah]

Now look, Kerry wrote this in September 2015. That is fewer than nine months since Proposition 47 took effect. Nine months is actually not long enough to “[result] in a permissive drug culture which is destroying lives.”. Nine months is not a cultural time scale. The state of California could have legalized freaking angel dust or, we don’t know, whatever the worst drug ever is, in January of 2015 and by September 2015 there just would not have been enough time to “[result] in a permissive drug culture which is destroying lives.”

And she also wants to blame AB109 (realignment) for her (imaginary) “uptick” in violence. See, under realignment, the number of state prisoners in California has been reduced. But, says Kerry, if these “people [are] leaving the criminal justice systems with limited access to employment and housing, this has made the situation worse.” That is, from Kerry’s point of view here, it’s better to keep people in prison who California voters want to let out than it is to let them out “with limited access to employment and housing” because letting them out might cause violence. But we just don’t keep people locked up for reasons like that. We lock them up when they break the law, not on the basis of demographical theories. At least that’s what we learned in civics class. But then, none of us have the advantage of a ritzy USC education like Kerry Morrison. Public schools all around in these parts.

OK, and check the word “uptick.” Put this together with the word “individuals” noted above, and what we have here is an acute case of law-enforcement-lingo-itis. She’s so identified with cop culture, so many of these BID people are, that she uses their words as if they were words normal human people use. Words matter, though. Talk like a cop, see the world like a cop. Just look out if she starts talking about “activities.” Here’s a little cop-speak word problem: individuals + uptick in activities = officer-involved shootings.

What’s the status of the WHGFC (food truck)? (Last I heard they were still looking for a place to rent, but had no luck and since Councilmember Ryu has been in office I’m not sure if the issue is getting the same attention it did before, thoughts?
That situation is off my radar at this point. I know it is a big issue for the Hollywood Media District. I’ve had so many plates spinning up here lately, I haven’t really kep
[t] track.

Well, we suppose it’s good to know that the freaking state assemblyman also has it in for the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition, even if Tim Harter doesn’t have the acronym down pat. What is these people’s problem with the food truck? We’ve been studying the question for years now. Since 2011. We still don’t understand. Sigh. Good thing knowledge is about questions, not answers, eh, friends? Anyway, happy new year!

  1. There are some details we’re glossing over. The settlement only applies to the City of LA, and both the City and the BIDs maintain that they’re not City agents, so perhaps they don’t fall under the 6 a.m. restriction. However, the BID Patrol follows it scrupulously, probably because every time the courts have been asked to decide the issue they’ve decided that the BIDs are in fact agents of the city. So as long as no one pushes it the City and the BIDs can maintain their polite fictions, but waking homeless people up before 6 a.m. would be pushing it hard.
  2. (NOTE ADDED January 9, 2016) It has recently been called to our attention that the ACLU was in fact a party to Jones v. City of LA. This is our mistake, and we regret having made it. A little bit, anyway. We just really really wanted to link to that thing about the drones and got led astray.

Image of Richard Bloom is from his official website, making it a public record. Image of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn is in the public domain and we got it from Wikipedia.

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