Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Moonlights As A Planning And Zoning Lobbyist, Also Unregistered!

A recently discovered shadowectomized portrait of shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine by French Fauvist painter Raoul Dufy, who never drew a shadow in his entire career.
As Karl Marx so wisely pointed out once upon a time1 crime is a career like any other. One reason is that there’s a learning curve. It takes some experience to be able to make crime pay. And the same, it seems, is true for unregistered lobbyists like our perennial subject, shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine. I reported last week that I had turned Tara Devine in to the Ethics Commission based on exhaustive research that indicated that she had spent more than 30 compensated hours over three consecutive months in 2016 lobbying for the Venice Beach BID without having registered with the City.

And I really thought I had found most of the relevant evidence,2 but it turns out that I was ever so wrong. Just last night I discovered, never mind how, that Tara Devine not only does shadowy BID consultancy, she also represents permission-seeking clients before planning boards. You can see details, dates, and so on after the break!

So Westwood has this thing called a Design Review Board. It seems that most neighborhoods don’t have them, but the ones that do seem generally quite ritzy.3 And the DRB’s approval seems to be necessary for variances, at least.4 So once upon a time there was a camera store at 10925 Kinross Avenue in good old Westwood. They wanted to put up a sign. Evidently this required permission from the DRB, so the sign-putters-up hired Tara Devine to talk the DRB through the process. She attended meetings as a representative on (at least) the following dates:

And, of course, as we know, she’s not registered as a lobbyist. It’s not possible to tell from this information how much time she spent on this one job,5 but along with her work, already exhaustively documented, on the Venice Beach BID and her work for the South Park BID (for which she received $17,000 in the last half of 2016) there seems to be very little chance that she did not qualify as a lobbyist in September as well as June through August. As I said at the beginning of this post, once someone has learned to make money by evading the law, they certainly have incentives to professionalize their activities. And if the laws aren’t being enforced, all the more so!

P.s. Registration of permit consultants seems to be incredibly sporadic. For instance, take a look here on the Planning Commission’s cases by Community Plan Area. Get a few of those PDFs and start looking up individual representatives and their firms in the Ethics Commission’s database. Most seem not be registered, but some are registered and have been so for years. It looks to me like this is a ripe area, likely to be quite rich, for amateur investigations. I don’t have the time, but I would bet good money that a few hours making CPRA requests of City Planning, various neighborhood councils, council districts, and so on, would turn up a ton of unregistered lobbying here. If you’re looking to take up the (very satisfying, I must say) hobby of shopping malfeasants to the CEC, this might be an excellent entry point.


The intellectual property rights inhering it the portrait of Tara Devine by Raoul Dufy are Raoul Dufy’s problem and none of ours!

  1. And doubtless many others besides him, both before and after.
  2. This isn’t strictly accurate. I know for a fact that I did not find all of the relevant evidence because, at the very least, of illegal behavior, which is very possibly criminal behavior, in withholding what must be reams of materials about Tara Devine’s interactions with the staff of CD11 and probably Mike Bonin himself. But at least I knew that evidence existed, even if I hadn’t been able to get at it.
  3. For instance the Pacific Palisades DRB has a website with all kinds of nonsense information on there!
  4. For an adversarial take on this, see this little slab of intra-zillionaire civil warfare by a guy who seems to specialize in getting McMansions built over the objects of DRBs.
  5. Don’t forget, it’s necessary to be paid for 30 hours in three consecutive months in order to be required to register.
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