Do You Have What It Takes To Be A BID Consultant For The City Of Los Angeles? Honesty? Integrity? Freaking LIKEABILITY?!??!

Shadowy BID consultant Teresa "Tara" Devine has what it takes!  She is evidently 15% likeable, honest, and infested with what passes for integrity in BID consultancy circles.
Shadowy BID consultant Teresa “Tara” Devine has what it takes! She is evidently 15% likeable, honest, and infested with what passes for integrity in BID consultancy circles.
If you follow BIDs in Los Angeles you will know that the process for creating a new one is so fraught with weirdo technicalities that when a Councilmember wants to form one in their district, not only do they have to get together a bullshit astroturf front group made up of major campaign contributors, but they also have to hire a consultant to guide the BAFG through the labyrinth. Of course, this is anything but an adversarial process, and success is pre-ordained. However, if the requirements imposed by the State of California are not adhered to somewhat scrupulously, the new BID will be vulnerable to challenges by non-mainstream anti-BID malcontents.1 Thus the City has an interest in making sure that these consultants are competent.2

It turns out that they take this interest seriously enough that the City Clerk maintains a list of qualified BID consultants. I recently obtained a copy from 2010. There are some old friends on there, e.g. Donald Duckworth, who you might recognize from 2014 as the initial consultant on Mike Bonin’s Venice Beach BID project, since replaced by the shadowy ringlet-tossing Tara Devine. The famed Susan Levi is also on that list. But all things must pass away, and the list will eventually need to be renewed. Thus it seems that in August 2015 the Clerk put out a request for qualifications seeking new qualified consultants to put on the list.3 So now it is possible to tell exactly what skills you need to develop if you want to be a shadowy BID consultant too!

Except really, it’s mostly pretty tedious. Read it yourself, of course, and maybe I missed the goodies, but it basically says if you want to be a BID consultant you have to be able to pull off a successful BID consulting project. However, it’s not all common sense and plain speaking. At the very end there is a gem, and that is the weighted list of evaluation criteria. This is essential!

Criteria Weight
Qualifications and experience of the Firm(s) and its personnel, as well as demonstrated experience in performing the services required herein 40%
Documented ability to perform on a timely basis (resources, evidence of past performance, financial capability, City Contracting Requirements) 35%
Demonstrated Likability,4 Honesty and Integrity 15%
References 10%
TOTAL 100%

It’s interesting that only 75% of the evaluation is based on competence and performance. The rest is based on likeability and references.5 So if you were blessed to watch Tara Devine testify in front of the City Council about how a BID in Venice would be better for the City of LA than the second coming of Jesus,6 or if you’ve ever suffered through yet another four month long7 debate with Susan Levi over the validity of yet another of the novel8 misinterpretations of CPRA whispered in her ear for purposes of parrotry by self-identified “super lawyer” Jeffrey Charles Briggs, at least you’ll know that Tara Devine and Susan Levi are 15% likeable.9

And, if you’ve made it this far, here’s a special bonus! I also have a number of documents from a seminar on BID best practices that the Clerk’s office requires BIDs to attend from time to time, most recently in 2013. This is interesting because, when it suits their purposes, the Clerk will deny that they have any control over BIDs at all, contract or no contract.10 However, these documents, especially the Power Point thing, show that in other contexts the Clerk’s office acts as if they have a great deal of control. Anyway, here are the documents, for now without further comment:

Image of shadowy ringlet-tossing BID consultant Tara Devine is ©2016

  1. Like the authors and readers of this blog.
  2. City officials evidently hadn’t put much thought into the fact that they themselves also ought to be competent to withstand such challenges, but after the recent Venice Beach BID do-over fiasco, they might be waking up to the fact that they too have to tread carefully.
  3. I am not completely sure what an RFQ is. My working theory is that it’s like a request for proposals, which invites potential contractors to bid on projects, except there aren’t any actual projects at present, so potential contractors submit proof that they’re qualified to be chosen when projects come up. Or something like that.
  4. Sic.
  5. I’m ignoring the honesty and integrity requirements, since how is anyone at the City Clerk going to be able to distinguish those from dishonesty and whatever the opposite of integrity is given the moral chaos that reigns at City Hall these days. It’s so far from anything that might plausibly relate to reality that it’s charitable just to assume that they were kidding when they put that requirement in there.
  6. Actually this isn’t a good analogy. Anyone who’s been paying attention to the theory and practice of Jesus knows that the City government probably isn’t going to fare that well should He return before they’re brought to heel by more conventional methods.
  7. But seemingly interminable.
  8. Calling an argument “novel” seems to be a left-handed lawyerly way of saying it’s not only random made-up bullshit, but that it’s so random, so made-up, so bullshit, that no one else in the known history of random made-up bullshit has ever had the misguided effrontery to propound it publicly.
  9. Or maybe not. They might be grandfathered in under the old system. Or even worse, they might be grandfathered in under the old system and be the actual reason why Miranda Paster decided to include likeability in the evaluation rubric. That’s actually not a bad theory!
  10. I know I keep promising to write on this issue, and I will, I swear. It’s the subject of ongoing complaints with the City, though, so every time I sit down to work on it something new develops. Sorry!

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