OK, Estela Lopez Doesn’t Like Paul Solomon And Yuval Bar-Zemer, We Get That. But (A) Are We In Freaking Junior High School? And (B) Why Is This Any Of Miranda Paster’s Freaking Business?? And (C) Why Is Miranda Paster Soliciting Defamatory Statements About Property Owners And Passing Them Around To Random BID Directors, E.G. Freaking Laurie Hughes??!

Friend, you gotta just click to enlarge because it’s only possible to minimize this issue so much and still have it make sense!
If I have learned anything about L.A. BIDs in my many years of deeply immersive anti-BID scholarship, it’s that they are run by a bunch of freaking short-sighted intellectually impaired amateurish morons, made mean and stupid by their wealth, who hire mean and stupid people to do their mean and stupid bidding and that the City government of Los Angeles, which thrives and grows fat on mean and short-sighted zillionaire stupidity, likes it this way.

And the story I’m here to tell you this morning certainly does not contradict that narrative, but it adds a surreal tinge of unprofessional immature junior-high-schoolistic tattle-tale-ing that I really haven’t seen before. In short, a guy named Paul Solomon bought some property in the Gateway to LA BID. Executive Directrix Laurie Hughes, thinking she recognized his name, asked Miranda Paster for the scoop on him. Miranda Paster emailed freaking Estela Lopez for more info. Estela Lopez, evidently still smarting from the whole Arts District debacle, which put her out of a job in 2013, flipped the fuck out, defamed Paul Solomon every which way, and Miranda Paster facilitated, solicited, and encouraged the whole mess. You can read the entire email chain here. And you can turn the page for an introduction to the cast and crew, a discussion of the issues, and, of course, a transcription of the salient bits of the PDF.

First the dramatis personae (in order of appearance):

  • Laurie Hughes — Executive director of the Gateway to LA BID. This is a BID near the airport that I haven’t done much work with, but I will be in the future, certainly.
  • Miranda Paster — Chief of the Neighborhood and Business Improvement District Division of the City Clerk’s office. She is in charge of all City relations with BIDs. Here is a copy of her most recent job description, but you’ll only be disappointed if you expect her to follow it.
  • Estela Lopez — Along with Kerry Morrison one of the historic founding figures in the Los Angeles BID movement. She ran the Central City East Association for ever so long, including directing both the Downtown Industrial District BID and also the Arts District BID. She was ED of the Arts District during the momentous lawsuit which led to its 2013 dissolution. She left the directorship of the Industrial District to work for L.A. lobbying powerhouse Kindel Gagan. She never really left the CCEA, though, because the very next day after she moved to Kindel Gagan, the CCEA hired her back as a consultant for $15,000 per month.1 She is presently serving yet another term as CCEA ED.
  • Yuval Bar-Zemer — Real estate developer and long-time denizen of the Arts District. He was in the forefront of the recent successful lawsuit over the Arts District BID which led to its 2013 dissolution. That whole mishegos constitutes the backstory for the present episode.
  • Paul Solomon — According to Estela Lopez, anyway, he’s “business partner and BFF of Yuval Bar-Zemer.” According to one isolated, unhinged, presents-as-a-lunatic fellow, banging his lonely drum out on the fringes of the internet2 he is the worst landlord in the Arts District. Never forget, though, the fact that Estela Lopez seems saner than the unhinged guy is more an ephemeral artifact spun up like cotton candy out of her social capital and her shadow-dwelling zillionaire posse than anything objectively real.

So the story begins late one Friday morning in April, 2015:

Laurie Hughes <lhughes@gatewaytola.org>
To: Miranda Paster <miranda.paster@lacity.org>
Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 11:01 AM

Hey Miranda,
Happy Good Friday!!!
Just thought that you would find this interesting….
We have a new Stakeholder … Paul Solomon… is the familiar??? Arts District???
I met him yesterday… doesn’t seem like a bad guy.

Laurie Hughes
Executive Director
Gateway to L.A.

6151 W. Century Blvd., #121
Los Angeles, CA 90045
www.gatewaytola.org

(310)216-7328 Office
(310)418-2661 Mobile

Can you tell it’s a serious matter by how many freaking question marks she uses?????????????? Anyway, evidently Miranda Paster could see how serious it was as well, because she answered right away!!!!3
Miranda Paster <miranda.paster@lacity.org> Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 12:22 PM
To: Laurie Hughes <lhughes@gatewaytola.org>

Yuval was the main name in the Arts District case.

But her reply to Laurie Hughes is not the most interesting part of this. The most interesting part, at least so far, is that one minute later. One freaking minute later, Miranda Paster forwarded the email to Estela Lopez and asked for her take:4
Miranda Paster <miranda.paster@lacity.org> Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 12:23 PM
To: Estela Lopez <elopez@kindelgagan.com>

Hi Estela and Happy Easter to you.
Do you recognize the name in Laurie’s email?

Thanks.

And Laurie Hughes is sending ’em fast and furiously as well. Just six minutes after Miranda Paster replied to her, and five minutes after Miranda Paster’s weirdly intemperate email to Estela Lopez, Laurie Hughes replied thusly, showing that actually she already knew what Miranda Paster was telling her, and possibly, it’s hard to say, fishing for more details:

Laurie Hughes <lhughes@gatewaytola.org> Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 12:28 PM
To: Miranda Paster <miranda.paster@lacity.org>

Apparently, they were partners.

And Estela Lopez has a little bit of information for her “dear friend,” Miranda Paster:

Estela Lopez <elopez@kindelgagan.com> Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 1:42 PM
To: Miranda Paster <miranda.paster@lacity.org>

Hello dear friend. Happy Easter to you as well. I’m in between services here at the Cathedral. Yes, Paul Solomon is business associate and BFF of Yuval Bar Zemer.

But apparently that was not what Miranda Paster was looking for. She evidently found it necessary to goad Estela Lopez a little more. And it’s clear that this was desperately important to Miranda Paster for reasons we probably will never know, although it may be related to the fact that after the first Arts District BID was dissolved, there were two competing proposals, and the fact that Miranda Paster blatantly favored one over another, in fact favored the one championed by Estela Lopez over the one put forth by Yuval Bar-Zemer and Paul Solomon, inter alia, ended up getting her removed from the case for appearing biased. Perhaps all this had something to do with the fact that Miranda Paster wasn’t satisfied with Estela Lopez’s initial statement and went fishing for something more:

Miranda Paster <miranda.paster@lacity.org> Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 1:51 PM
To: Estela Lopez <elopez@kindelgagan.com>

Is he OK or should Laurie need to have any concerns?

And boy oh boy, did she ever get something more! This invitation was evidently too much for Estela Lopez, so there and then, on Good Friday, perhaps in honor of the anniversary of the cops and the landlords having nailed Jesus Christ to the cross,5 decided to do a little cross-nailing of her own, although probably with less reason:

Estela Lopez <elopez@kindelgagan.com> Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 2:00 PM

To: Miranda Paster <miranda.paster@lacity.org>

Difficult to advise without knowing more. I’m frankly surprised. I even wonder if it’s the same guy. The Paul Solomon from the Arts District is a rabble rousing contrarian who fits in with the Arts community. He may have a different personality outside of Downtown.

And evidently that was what Miranda Paster was looking for, because by then she was done with the discussion:

Miranda Paster <miranda.paster@lacity.org> Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 2:04 PM
To: Estela Lopez <elopez@kindelgagan.com>

Thanks

And really, I have to wonder how Miranda Paster thinks it’s part of her job to dig up dirt on actual property owners in BIDs to pass along to the staff of those BIDs. BID staff act like they represent the interests of property owners,6 and perhaps this is an ideal goal of theirs. So under what circumstances do they need to know stuff like this? I mean, perhaps they do in order to manage their BIDs efficiently. But what is Miranda Paster doing soliciting defamation from Estela Lopez with the express intent of passing it along to Laurie Hughes? It really looks mostly like in 2015 she was still angry about having been called out on her pro-Lopez advocacy with respect to the Arts District BID. In any case, it’s unprofessional, it’s immature, and it’s quite possibly against the law, although proving that will take more investigation.7 Stay tuned, friends!


Friend, that picture of Estela Lopez has been so thoroughly modified, transformed, and mogrified by my labor, imbued with my art, infused with my sensibilities, fairly used to within a pixel of its very being, that however it started out its little image-inary life, it is now ©2017 MichaelKohlhaas.Org, and thank you very much! Ask nicely and maybe I’ll give you permission to use it.

  1. I haven’t written on this episode yet for one reason or another, but I will be at some point. If you need to see the documentation before then, drop me a line.
  2. You can just save your jokes about pots and kettles. Not only have I heard them all before, but I thought of them first.
  3. An hour and 21 minutes. You should email Miranda Paster yourself and see if you get an answer even that day, friends.
  4. There is probably an important clue to something in the fact that (a) April 3 was Good Friday in 2015, (b) Laurie Hughes acknowledged as much by wishing Miranda Paster a happy Good Friday (although Good Friday’s not usually associated with happiness much) and using three, count ’em, three, exclamation points after her wish, and (c) Miranda Paster wished Estela Lopez a happy Easter on Good Friday rather than extending any Good Friday wishes whatsoever. Now, if only we could figure out what this is a clue to and what this clue says about that matter, we’d be in much better shape than we are now.
  5. When Jesus come to town, all the working folks around
    Believed what he did say
    The bankers and the preachers, they nailed Him on the cross
    And they laid Jesus Christ in his grave

    And the working people followed him around
    Singing and shouting gay
    But the cops and soldiers nailed him in the air
    And they laid Jesus Christ in his grave

    Well the people held their breath when they heard about his death
    Everybody wondered why
    It was the landlord and the soldiers that they hired
    To nail Jesus Christ in the sky

    This song was made in New York City
    Of rich man and preachers, and slaves
    If Jesus was to preach like He preached in Galillee
    They would lay Jesus Christ in His grave

  6. Although when pressed they will often retreat from this position. It’s actually not true that they represent property owners, but that’s a subject for another day.
  7. Which is underway as you’re reading these words!
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