“They’re Saying It’s A Constitutional Right To Have Stuff” — More Performative Insanity From Batty Little Fusspot Blair Besten — The Finest Legal Mind Of Her Generation — As She Explains The Mitchell Injunction To You — From The Point Of View Of A Whiny Entitled Privileged Stupid Person — A Constituency That Doesn’t Get Nearly Enough Attention In Los Angeles — That’s Sarcasm — They’re In Charge Of The Damn Asylum — And Listen To Her Run Her Poormouth About How Her Putatively Underfunded BID Makes Do With Low Budgets By Being More Efficient Than The Fashion District — Which Spends Proportionately Half Of What Besten Spends On Administration — Lie Or Incompetence? — The Perennial Besten Question

It’s been a long while since we here at the blog have heard from Blair Besten, the half-pint Norma Desmond of the Historic Core.1 Well, it’s because, like with El Duckworth, she is so convinced that she is above the law that I haven’t gotten any substantial records out of her infernal BID in ever so long, and without records I will not, I can not, mock.

And of course, as you know, I’m in the process of suing her and her damnable BID to enforce compliance with the Public Records Act. And she’s going to lose, because losing is what she does best. So at some point the records will be rolling in again and the full-time mockery will resume. Until then, though, well, I have always relied on the kindness of strangers, and they are strangely kind to me.

In particular, just recently, unsolicited, was handed to me2 an audio track of an unscheduled appearance made by Ms. Besten at some bullshit meeting conducted at some bullshit Downtown residential bullshit location, having something to do with some bullshit or other. So I made it into a video3 and you can listen here on YouTube and here on Archive.Org, where you can also download it more easily. And of course there’s also a complete transcription after the break!

And best of all, this unexpected bit of Besteniana means that it’s gonna be like the good old days around here what with all the mere mockery unloosed upon the world! Gonna mock around the clock tonight! Turn the page, I’m gonna lay it on you in increments, but before then let’s just spoil the ending and take a look at the single most incomprehensibly lobotomized proclamation proclaimed by Ms. Blair Besten in a long unbroken chain of incomprehensibly lobotomized proclamity!

What, you may ask, does Ms. Blair Besten think that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit Mitchell v. Los Angeles are so freaking wrong about? Why “they’re saying that it’s a constitutional right to have stuff in Skid Row.” If you stop and think about it, Ms. Besten, that’s kind of like, almost, what the Fourteenth Amendment to the constitution is saying with all that jive about “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

See the part about property? That’s what grownups call “stuff.” And I don’t see anything about it not being true in Skid Row. In fact, all kinds of people have “stuff” in Skid Row. Like e.g. all those property owners in the Downtown Industrial District BID. Gonna tell them they can’t have stuff there?

And the amendment goes on to say that states may not “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” They seem to have left out the not in Skid Row bit there too. So on Blair Besten’s testimony it’s hard to see why she’s so upset at the prospect of the City settling Mitchell. But she is very upset. Can see how it might get confusing to folks like Besten. And listen, lest you think I’m being pointlessly mean to Blair Besten, please keep in mind that this is not just some kook spouting her theories to the waves on Venice Beach.

She is the head of a major Downtown Business Improvement District, hand-picked by Jose Huizar over the objections of its board of directors to administer its outrageously high $2.2 million budget. She is widely considered by City officials to be some kind of expert on homelessness, to the point where they appointed her to the damn HHH citizens’ oversight committee over the objections of a lot of sane and accomplished people. She’s not just a kook, although she is a kook. She’s a dangerous kook with a lot of power. So yeah, I’m being mean to Blair Besten, but not pointlessly mean. Anyway, read on, friends!

And here are selected quotes plus mockery from Blair Besten’s unchecked rant, which you may listen to in its entirety right here. And there is a full transcription at the end of the post to read it in its uninterrupted glory! Now let’s get started!


And our budget is very small, comparatively, to the Fashion District and the DCBID, which have a lot more territory, a lot more high rise buildings, which is how they gain more capital.

If you’ve ever talked with Blair Besten for more than a few minutes you’ll know she’s an indefatigable poormouth. She will not shut up about how broke her damn BID is. And it’s true that the Historic Core BID budget is smaller than the two BIDs she names. The DCBID has $6,757,968.13 per year and the FDBID has $5,804,582. In contrast the HCBID has only $2,271,611.55.4


But we do do a lot with what we do have because like for example our internal is just myself and one office member, Paola. She does all of our marketing and coordinating service coordinating. Many of the other BIDs, even the ones of our size, have at least five or six employees internally but we just don’t have the budget for that cause it would be taking away resources that could go out in the field. So pretty much most of what we have goes out into our clean and safe teams.

Umm, Blair? Don’t lie, please. What you’re saying here just isn’t true. Just not accurate. It turns out that proportionately the Fashion District BID spends half of what your BID spends on administration and the DCBID spends the same as your BID. The Fashion District spends almost 10% more on Clean and Safe5 than your weirdo BID. Although, amazingly, the HCBID does spend more proportionately than the DCBID on cleaning and security. Here are the actual numbers:

BID Budget Administration % of budget Clean and Safe % of budget
HCBID $2,271,611 $408,890 18% $1,658,276 73%
FDBID $5,804,582 $525,115 9% $4,629,736 79.7%
DCBID $6,757,968 $1,283,327 19% $3,956,095 59%


I don’t know if you guys are aware of all the propositions like Prop 47, 57, 81.09. There’s a lot of California only release programs. We’ve seen a lot of decriminalization of laws. So things that are offensive to people, like people shooting up or using, are now ticketable offenses. They’re considered nonviolent, people don’t do jail time. If you find it offensive then all I can say is please don’t vote to decriminalize it because they’re just gonna sit there…

You know, this is crazy, but it’s such a familiar kind of crazy gonna cut my commentary short. Just to say, it takes a really special kind of person to think that Prop 47 was bad because it made shooting up into a nonviolent crime when it really offends a lot of people. Untangle the logic in that argument and get back to me in the comments, K friends?!


The partnerships we have with buildings where they do cleaning outside, we do cleaning outside, together. It keeps things at bay. The buildings that sort of sit there with no love from their ownership, you know, they depend on us to take care of it all, to keep all the riff-raff away.

There’s some kind of scholarly essay to be written, not by me, about the metaphors that BIDdies and other antihomeless crusaders use when talking about human beings whose only transgression is that they don’t have a damn house. We see martial metaphors, we see disease metaphors, and here we see hunting metaphors. Hunted animals are what’s at bay, and here Blair Besten, proud member of the HHH Oversight Committee, is showing us that she sees our homeless neighbors as her prey. And as riff-raff too, but as offensive as that is it pales here.


Um, can I talk about the Mitchell really quickly? So there’s the Mitchell injunction.

She’s asking her hosts this question. And they give her permission. Because who doesn’t want to hear this featherbrained fascist Blair Besten yammering on about something that she knows absolutely nothing about?


We notice all across the City, not just in Downtown, the proliferation of encampments. And you see them sitting there for weeks, months, growing. We have some, for example, one near where I live, on Maple, one man has, you know, almost an entire block of stuff.

You know what, Blair Besten? I’m just going to go ahead and say that this is in fact not true. It’s just made up. It’s not the kind of thing that could actually be true. It’s like a little kid’s lie it’s so implausible. This is the expert on compassionate responses to homelessness that Jose Huizar saw fit to put on the HHH Oversight Commission. Wonder why nothing’s getting done with that money? Don’t ask Blair Besten. She’s too busy making up stories to figure it out.


The Mitchell injunction is something that our City Attorney would like to settle. And the settlement is not really a settlement. It’s kind of giving everything to the other side, which is that the plaintiffs are saying that if you’re arrested your belongings, whatever they may be, would not be confiscated. So they remain there. They can remain there for weeks, months. People could pilfer through them. Cause they’re on the sidewalk. But regardless they’re considered possessions. … It could be a sofa. It could be three tents, not just one. There’s no parameters to it.

The whole Downtown zillionaire and zillionaire minion community is really upset that it looks like the City is going to settle Mitchell. They think it’s some kind of political question, and they’ve been sending their best and brightest6 down to harangue the City into not settling. It’s bad enough that they don’t understand that in matters like this the City Council is always going to do what their lawyers tell them to do.

But they don’t even understand that the City’s going to settle because if they go to trial they will lose. Just like they lose every case like this. Because what they do with the property of homeless people is not just immoral, it’s not just unconscionable, it’s outright illegal. And they know it. As does every federal judge who’s ruled on the question. And her explanation of the settlement is even more crackpot given that the case hasn’t settled so no one knows what terms are being discussed. The truth, though, for Besten, is mostly an inconvenience, if it even affects her trajectory at all.

Oh,and see how she wants to reduce the question of the City’s illegal and inhumane confiscation of the property of homeless human beings to sofas? This is another typical zillionaire minion rhetorical ploy. She certainly ought to know that sofas aren’t the issue. Medicine is the issue. Wheelchairs, clothes, legal papers, and so on. These are the issue.

All of these items are essential to survival in the modern world. It’s yet another trivialization of the real problems that she and her ilk cause, the real danger that they put people’s lives in. And her summary of what this serious, this weighty case is about? What the plaintiffs have gone to federal court to claim? Here’s Besten’s final word on the matter:

they’re saying that it’s a constitutional right to have stuff in Skid Row.

Yeah, Blair. That’s what they’re saying. And they’re right. It’s a constitutional right to have stuff in Skid Row or anywhere else. It’s guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, with the wise words of which I will close this post:


No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Complete transcription:


Blair Besten: So we cover 50 blocks. This neighborhood is the most challenging by nature. Our location, proximity to Skid Row, but also because we have so many residents here. And
[unintelligible] Art Walk, we have all the marches and parades down Broadway, we have all the [unintelligible]. We have a lot here. And our budget is very small, comparatively, to the Fashion District and the DCBID, which have a lot more territory, a lot more high rise buildings, which is how they gain more capital. But we do do a lot with what we do have because like for example our internal is just myself and one office member, Paola. She does all of our marketing and coordinating service coordinating. Many of the other BIDs, even the ones of our size, have at least five or six employees internally but we just don’t have the budget for that cause it would be taking away resources that could go out in the field. So pretty much most of what we have goes out into our clean and safe teams. We do more trash than the purple shirt DCBID which their territory is enormous. It’s due to our proximity to Skid Row, it’s due to a lot of the wholesalers and people who put a lot of their trash out on the street instead of having a dumpster in their building, it’s a lot of the vending, that has been quasi-legalized. Again, there’s no plan to deal with the trash. And then, you know, at the end of the day, when they’ve had a bunch of customers they just kinda leave it for us to take. So we just have a lot, a lot of demand in this neighborhood. That being said, we have a 24 hour hotline number. We respond to calls. So we could promise you more visibility but if we’re getting called elsewhere for emergencies we’re gonna move on [unintelligible] we don’t have enough staff to just [unintelligible]. And we do anchor points, so we also respond to areas that have a high incident rate. So for example Spring Street between 5th and 6th and 6th and 7th is incredibly demanding for us. We’ve had things like, not just a 41.18, which is somebody lying there on the sidewalk or shooting up. We have people getting assaulted [unintelligible] punched in the face. These are gonna be calls, things that we’re gonna respond to more frequently and faster [unintelligible] that’s just like the LAPD, it’s considered more of an emergency. [unintelligible] also what we’re looking at is, I don’t know if you guys are aware of all the propositions like Prop 47, 57, 81.09. There’s a lot of California only release programs. We’ve seen a lot of decriminalization of laws. So things that are offensive to people, like people shooting up or using, are now ticketable offenses. They’re considered nonviolent, people don’t do jail time. If you find it offensive then all I can say is please don’t vote to decriminalize it because they’re just gonna sit there, there’s really… we can’t be the muscle for the neighborhood, we can’t do anything the police can’t do. Certainly your building security can be more visible in the doorways and sort of keep people moving along from around the building. The partnerships we have with buildings where they do cleaning outside, we do cleaning outside, together. It keeps things at bay. The buildings that sort of sit there with no love from their ownership, you know, they depend on us to take care of it all, to keep all the riff-raff away. So also [unintelligible] where our residents call us the most and call LAPD the most to get the most response. And they respond to statistics. We all do. And we’ll be there, and we’re there very quickly unless we’re on another job. I can’t even count on this hand how many times we’ve had complaints that we just don’t show up and it was actually something internal that was screwed up and they just weren’t doing the job. It’s usually their like right then. It’s just like when you call LAPD and there’s like 45 minutes to an hour and a half wait, because they’re just overworked. Something else we do is advocate a lot on behalf of Downtown. Lobby the police force to get more resources here. We’ve been successful often in getting more footbeats, more mounted patrol, more bike units. But again, letters that you guys want to participate in sending to your mayor, to your council people, requesting more resources, always helps. Um, can I talk about the Mitchell really quickly? So there’s the Mitchell injunction. We notice all across the City, not just in Downtown, the proliferation of encampments. And you see them sitting there for weeks, months, growing. We have some, for example, one near where I live, on Maple, one man has, you know, almost an entire block of stuff. The Mitchell injunction is something that our City Attorney would like to settle. And the settlement is not really a settlement. It’s kind of giving everything to the other side, which is that the plaintiffs are saying that if you’re arrested your belongings, whatever they may be, would not be confiscated. So they remain there. They can remain there for weeks, months. People could pilfer through them. Cause they’re on the sidewalk. But regardless they’re considered possessions. [unintelligible] It could be a sofa. It could be three tents, not just one. There’s no parameters to it. What a bunch of stakeholders, and I’m a Downtown resident too, worked long and hard at City Hall. And that’s what we need to do, is people that live here and work here to ask our City Attorney to fight it. And if he doesn’t want to fight it to hire counsel to fight it. Because it shouldn’t be a constitutional right to have a sofa in Skid Row, which the parameters will not be Spring Street. You can’t have a constitutional right on Spring Street, at 4th and Spring…

Unidentified interlocutor: Is this really the appropriate forum for your political preferences?

BB: It sure is, because if you’re concerned about homeless safety and issues on the sidewalks, which is what people call us for, this is pertinent to that. It’s information that I would think you would want to know. To be aware of it.

UI: Sounds like your opinion.

BB: It’s just the facts. That’s all. You can decide to believe it or not, but it’s…it’s…they’re saying that it’s a constitutional right to have stuff in Skid Row. From Spring to Alameda, Third to Eighth. The rest of the City would, for now, be absolved of this…conditions. Until somebody else sues. So you should just be made aware of this, that we’re going to City Hall on the 3rd of October and you have to think about it. You’re allowed to come speak.


Image of Blair Besten just grinning and everything is ©2019 MichaelKohlhaas.org.

  1. I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. Huizar! Mr. Garcetti?! Anybody??? In all fairness, though, I should mention that I am not aware of conclusive evidence suggesting that Blair Besten has ever owned a monkey, let alone buried one in her yard. Or even that she has a yard, for that matter.
  2. Metaphorically handed to me.
  3. You have to make audio into video to post it on YouTube, and posting it on YouTube is important because everyone has a way to use YouTube and also YouTube lets you link into videos at specific times. The fact that is also a demonic corporate entity that has no one’s but its own interests in mind is why I also post everything on Archive.Org.
  4. This information is taken from the Management District Plans of the three BIDs, available from the City of Los Angeles here: DCBID, FDBID, HCBID.
  5. This is what BIDs call their cleaning and security services. It’s bizarro-world jargon, I hate it, but like all the creepy BIDdies I study, I fall into using it. Like inverse Stockholm Syndrome or something. Forgive me, and maybe someday I will begin to forgive myself.
  6. Relatively so. In absolute terms they’re not very bright and they’re not very best. Not even kind of best. Not even a little bit best.
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