Daniel Halden, Speaking On Behalf Of Mitch O’Farrell, Explains Why The Rusty Mullet Must Die

Dan Halden at the August 2015 HPOA All Property Owners Meeting.
CD13 Hollywood Field Deputy Dan Halden at the August 2015 HPOA All Property Owners Meeting.
(Hitherto we have sought to understand O’Farrell’s anti-nightclub campaign; the point, however, is to change it)

The other day we wrote about the Rusty Mullet conditional use permit revocation hearing, but didn’t get around to covering CD13 Hollywood Field Deputy Dan Halden’s testimony, which you can listen to here, and as always there’s a transcript after the break, and we’ll just take it line by line, also as always.

My name is Daniel Halden. H-A-L-D-E-N. Good afternoon, I guess. I was going to say good morning, but good afternoon. I serve Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell of the Thirteenth District. I’m his Hollywood Field Deputy, which is a position I’ve had since May 2014.

It is editorial policy here at MK.org to showcase anything true that our guests say. Unfortunately all too often that’s no more than their name, rank, and serial number.

It’s the top priority of the Councilman [unintelligible] to ensure public safety and a high quality of life, whether it’s in Hollywood or anywhere in the Thirteenth District.

Not really. In fact it is the top priority of the Councilman to hire private security forces who are not subject to democratic control so that they can physically attack homeless people who have not yet been targeted by one of his on-demand forcible encampment cleanups or attempts to deny them food and in the spare time left to him after these efforts, to destroy nightclubs in Hollywood solely because Kerry Morrison and Peter Zarcone are unable to tell the difference between groups of nonwhite people having fun and freaking civil insurrections or something. Anyway, that’s what the evidence shows is the top priority of the Councilman. We guess you could call that a high quality of life, but really, whose life?

I just want to point out, underscore some of what we heard from the police department earlier, things that are of utmost concern to the Councilman and to our office, notably the police investigative reports, notices to appear, or arrest reports since January 2014 alone.

These are things we heard from the police department in the person of Hollywood Vice officer Benjamin Thompson (#39467), who is a shameless and unrepentant liar. Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, as they say. Also, even if hearsay is allowed under whatever weirdo rules of evidence these ZA hearings use, why should anyone take it seriously? The cop is a liar, but even if he weren’t a liar, how does it add to anyone’s understanding to read the cop’s statements into the record yet again? What is Halden on behalf of O’Farrell saying here? That he too read through the same parade of horribles that the cop just read and yes, he too is horrified? Who cares?

Getting a CUP is a privilege, and when you get it you have to go through that public process that involves a public hearing, that’s not that dissimilar from this one.

It’s true that obtaining a conditional use permit is a privilege. It’s a privilege in the same legal sense that having a driver’s license is a privilege. The government sets certain standards for awarding them, unlike e.g. having a blog, which is a right and anyone can do it without meeting standards1 or getting advance permission. But it’s not a privilege like borrowing your mom’s car when you’re a kid, where if you don’t clean your room or mow the lawn she can change her mind and you have no recourse even if she didn’t tell you in advance that those were conditions. The fact that the government is not your mom is an important cornerstone principle of our constitutional democracy. Once the government awards a CUP to run a business, that CUP is worth a lot of money and they can’t take it away on a whim. It may not be a right to get a CUP, but once you have a CUP you have an absolute right to due process, guaranteed by the actual U.S. Constitution,2 before it can be taken away from you. You don’t get due process from your mom.3 That, by the way, is the same U.S. Constitution that Mitch O’Farrell swore to defend when he took the oath required of Councilmembers by the Los Angeles City Charter, which goes like this:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California and the Charter of the City of Los Angeles, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of (here inserting the name of the office) according to the best of my ability.”

So his participation in this charade, both on his own account and through his loyal Field Deputy Mr. Halden, is not only fairly shameful, but is also arguably a violation of his oath of office.

And the conditions that the Rusty Mullet has repeatedly violated are conditions that they themselves agreed to in the first place. So the fact that there are so many different violations as well as the criminal activity that has been reported, we find very troubling, especially since it is our responsibility and, frankly, the responsibility of the person or business operator in Hollywood or anywhere else to do so in a safe manner.

When your mom says you can borrow the car and then you don’t mow the lawn, she will tell you that you agreed to the conditions in the first place, and she finds it very troubling that you don’t take your responsibilities seriously. That’s what moms do. But there’s no moral dimension to these kind of government transactions. If the Rusty Mullet violated the conditions, which they probably didn’t, but if they did, then and only then can their CUP be taken away. If they did not then it can’t. Moral outrage, as expressed in words like troubling, have no place in the discussion. We have a government of laws, not a government of moms.

It’s troubling to us that this has gone on for so long, again, that certain things have just been repeated, repeatedly violated over and over and over again, which suggests that there was not much of an attempt, or any attempt, to correct those violations

I feed you, I clothe you, I give you a roof over your head, and you don’t even try to do the simplest thing I ask. All you had to do was MOW THE LAWN!! But there was not much of an attempt, or any attempt to do what I asked. No, you can’t borrow the car!

I want to be clear that we don’t like getting to this point.

This hurts me more than it hurts you.

Just to get to this point is an enormous strain, on City resources, it’s an enormous strain on everybody’s time.

This is a popular argument in City circles, as if somehow City resources were meant for any other freaking purpose than regulating the affairs of citizens. People want to have bars and restaurants, and also people want them to be regulated for noise, crowds, being a nuisance, and so on. There are conflicting desires and needs between citizens. This is why we even have police, zoning administrators, and for that matter City Councilmembers. It’s not a strain on City resources to have them doing their freaking job, which in this case is adjudicating between conflicting interests regarding a restaurant. What would they be doing if this weren’t happening? Approving a bunch more illegal mixed-use buildings in Hollywood? Really, what do they have to do that’s better than this? This is what they are freaking paid to do. It is the same bankrupt argument that the LAPD uses against the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition. It’s bullshit in that context, and it’s bullshit in this context.

So given all of that it is the position of our office that the conditional use permit for this [unintelligible] should be revoked.

And this is the real problem here. You see, when these decisions are appealed, they go first to the Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee, and from there to the full Council. At that point, Mitch O’Farrell gets to vote on the appeal, but he has already announced in advance that he’s opposed to the CUP. Will he recuse himself? He did not in the case of the Cashmere, at whose ZA hearing Halden also spoke in opposition.4 We don’t know if he had a duty to recuse himself, but perhaps we’ll find out when this gets before an actual court of law. In any case, at one point in our lives we’d have thought that Dan Halden had better things to do with his career than shilling for a bunch of white supremacist zillionaires, but that was before we learned who Mitch O’Farrell’s constituents really are.

Transcripts of Dan Halden’s remarks regarding:

The Rusty Mullet on July 28, 2016 My name is Daniel Halden. H-A-L-D-E-N. Good afternoon, I guess. I was going to say good morning, but good afternoon. I serve Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell of the Thirteenth District. I’m his Hollywood Field Deputy, which is a position I’ve had since May 2014. Thank you for your time. Thank you to all of agencies, and thank you to all of the community members who are here. [unintelligible] We did submit a letter to the record. I will just paraphrase that. [unintelligible] It’s the top priority of the Councilman [unintelligible] to ensure public safety and a high quality of life, whether it’s in Hollywood or anywhere in the Thirteenth District. I just want to point out, underscore some of what we heard from the police department earlier, things that are of utmost concern to the Councilman and to our office, notably the police investigative reports, notices to appear, or arrest reports since January 2014 alone. Also troubling are the multiple recurrent violations of the conditional use permit, including over a dozen by my count of condition number 10 alone in that same time [unintelligible]. Also there are twenty six crime reports that originate from the venue itself. Plus four others that were outside that involved patrons of the establishment, and those four incidents were a rape, and assault with a deadly weapon, battery of a police officer, and a homicide. There are also the seventeen arrests, managers and staff members of the Rusty Mullet facility [unintelligible] LAPD. The conditional use permit process is a public process. It’s something that we take very seriously. Getting a CUP is a privilege, and when you get it you have to go through that public process that involves a public hearing, that’s not that dissimilar from this one. And the conditions that the Rusty Mullet has repeatedly violated are conditions that they themselves agreed to in the first place. So the fact that there are so many different violations as well as the criminal activity that has been reported, we find very troubling, especially since it is our responsibility and, frankly, the responsibility of the person or business operator in Hollywood or anywhere else to do so in a safe manner. It’s troubling to us that this has gone on for so long, again, that certain things have just been repeated, repeatedly violated over and over and over again, which suggests that there was not much of an attempt, or any attempt, to correct those violations. I want to be clear that we don’t like getting to this point. Just to get to this point is an enormous strain, on City resources, it’s an enormous strain on everybody’s time. There are a lot of people here today, and we only get here if there’s a real problem. And there is a real problem in our eyes as it relates to public safety. So given all of that it is the position of our office that the conditional use permit for this [unintelligible] should be revoked.


Image of Dan Halden is a modification of a public record, which I got from here.

  1. We have a deep-seated neurotic need to play straight man to our critics. You’re welcome.
  2. Which overrides all City ordinances, practices, and procedures, much to the chagrin of our City government.
  3. Nor should you. Moms are too wise and wonderful to need legal constraints on their actions. We swear, Mom, it’s true! Mom, if you’re reading this, we’re really sorry we didn’t mow the lawn and can we please PLEASE borrow the car?!
  4. Sorry, no transcript. There’s only so much time in the day.
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