Today’s episode in our ongoing Brown Act Enforcement Project, which you can read all about right here on this page entitled Our Work is the abject and total capitulation of the South Park BID to every last one of the demands made in the letter I sent them on December 14, 2018. This is a not-unexpected move, since doing so obviates the chance of an expensive lawsuit which they’d be sure to lose and possibly would have to pay my litigation costs as well as their own.
Like so many of our local BIDdies they were advised in the process by the world’s angriest BID attorney, Carol Freaking Humiston of Bradley & Freaking Gmelich. And really, more than advised as she clearly wrote the letter of capitulation that Board Chair Robin Freaking Bieker sent out to me over his own signature yesterday. It’s got every known Humistonian trope on parade, e.g. “You don’t know what you’re talking about and whatever it is you’re totally wrong but nevertheless we’ll do what you demand but not for any reason.”1
And unlike the previous Brown Act transgressions I’ve spotted and skooshed out with these demand letters, there is a really complex violation here. The SPBID has maintained a secret committee, the Executive Committee, that meets in private and votes by email. The BID has agreed not to do this any more, but my impression from their emails is that it’s really essential to the way they function. It’ll be interesting to see how they get along with out it.
Although it’s as if not more likely that they’ll keep breaking that particular bit of the law and try to cover it up by claiming that all relevant emails are exempt from production, quite likely due to the nebulous and mostly made up deliberative process privilege. Well, we’ll certainly see what happens. Meanwhile, turn the page for a transcription of the articles of surrender.
Re: Letter of December 14, 2018
Dear Mr. Mike
The South Park Business District (“BID”) acknowledges receipt of your letter dated December 14, 2018, in which you claim alleged Brown Act violations and demand that the BID “cease and desist” the following alleged violations: (1) requiring you to sign-in before entering the secure building in which the BID is a tenant; (2) seeking the Board’s recommendation for the Executive Director to explore contract negotiations with Block by Block; and (3) the Executive Committee meeting without posting an Agenda containing Open Session and Closed Session items.
The BID has never required you or any member of the public to sign-in to attend BID Board meetings. While the BID was a tenant at 1100 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015, the BID hosted most of its public meetings in its office. The BID was one of several tenants in the building located at 1100 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015. For the security of the individuals and tenants in the building, the landlord directed security that everyone who enters the building must sign-in. Since September 11, 2001, that has been the security standard in the buildings in downtown Los Angeles. The BID has never had an issue with the public attending a Board meeting notwithstanding the tenant security protocols. On April 26, 2018, when you attempted to attend the meeting, there was simply a miscommunication with the security guard on duty, as this was his first day of work. The BID has since relocated its offices, so this will not be an issue going forward.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, in order to avoid unnecessary litigation, and because you have expressly represented that by doing so you “consider this matter at an end,” the BID hereby unconditionally commits that it will cease, desist from, and not repeat, as follows:
(1) The BID will continue to not require any member of the public to sign-in to attend Board meetings.
(2) Neither the Board nor the Executive Committee will vote to take action by written consent without a meeting.
(3) The Executive Committee will not meet without posting an Agenda containing both Open Session and Closed Session items.
The BID may rescind this commitment only by a majority vote of its membership taken in Open Session at a regular meeting and noticed on its posted agenda as “Rescission of Brown Act Commitment.” You will be provided with written notice, sent by any means or media you provide in response to this message, to whatever address or addresses you specify, of any intention to consider rescinding this commitment at least 30 days before any such regular meeting. In the event that this commitment is rescinded, you will have the right to commence legal action pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 54960 of the Government Code. That notice will be delivered to you by the same means as this commitment, or may be mailed to an address that you have designated in writing.
South Park BID Board Chair
Cc: Carol Humiston
Bradley & Gmelich
700 N. Brand Blvd., 10th Floor
Glendale, CA 91203
Image of The Great and Terrible Robin Freaking Bieker is ©2019 MichaelKohlhaas.Org. And then there is this.