Watch and listen here1 to an interminable discussion at last Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Directors of the Central Hollywood Coalition2 about how to pay the increasing cost of the armed BID Patrol while, at the same time, maintaining or expanding dedicated “homeless outreach” services, also provided by Andrews International. In particular, staff is asking the board to approve a 5% increase in the A/I budget for next year to cover salary increases and so on.
Here are some numbers. A/I pays its BID Patrol officers $31.50 an hour.3 Almost certainly the BID is paying A/I significantly more than that. Also note that base pay for A/I unarmed officers is $13 per hour. In other words, armed officers cost about 2.5 times as much as unarmed officers. If A/I’s markup to the BID is a percentage of its HR costs then this ratio will hold constant regardless of what the BID is actually paying.4 Now, most BIDs in the City of Los Angeles do not have armed security. In fact, as far as I can tell, the two HPOA BIDs run by Kerry Morrison are the only BIDs that do.5 We have written before about Kerry Morrison’s disturbing and utterly disproportionate love of guns, and that’s probably enough to explain her insistence on armed security despite the high cost.6 And the cost is very high. According to the Sunset & Vine BID’s 2015 independent audit, the BID paid $805,608 for security out of total annual expenditures of $1,542,735.7
I’m searching through the 2015 BID Patrol daily logs and also the 2015 arrest reports as part of a major project I’m working on,1 and I just keep coming across more surreal and upsetting (albeit tangential) episodes. For instance, on June 25, 2015 BID Patrol gunmen Dennis Watkins (badge #104) and Steven Sewell (badge #111), whose pictures Kerry Morrison is willing to lie and to break the law in order to keep secret,2 told the following story:3
RADIO CALL: 6923 HOLLYWOOD BLVD. 415 MAN IN FRONT OF THE “METRO”. UPON ARRIVAL NUMEROUS PEOPLE WERE POINTING TO THE SUBJECT. THE SUBJECT IS “C***** B****’ A M / W / 40-45 YRS. HE IS A TRANSIENT AND CAUSES PROBLEMS WERE EVER HE MAY BE. HE HAS PERIODS OF TIME WHERE HE WILL USE THE MOST VULGAR LANGUAGE TOWARD ANYONE IN EAR SHOT. HE PULLS A CHILD TYPE WAGON WITH ALL OF HIS POSSESSIONS. THERE IS NO REASONING OR CALMING THIS INDIVIDUAL DOWN. OFFICERS HAVE TO TAKE A FIRM POSTURE AND DIRECT HIM AWAY FROM PEOPLE. OFFICERS WILL ESCORT HIM TO A SIDE STREET OR OTHER LESS TRAVELED LOCATION. HE IS SWEARING AT THE OFFICERS DURING ALL OF THIS. IT IS UNKNOWN IF HE IS UNDER A DOCTORS CARE. IT IS AMAZING THAT HE HAS NOT BEEN ASSAULTED BY OTHER CITIZENS. HE IS SLIGHT OF BUILD AND NOT A PHYSICAL THREAT.
If you’ve been following the Selma Park story you’ll recall that, even as we’ve discovered that the park was illegally made off-limits to all but adults with children, even as we’ve uncovered a stinking, sordid history of both roustings-out and illegal arrests, it hasn’t been exactly clear who was actually, explicitly responsible for this ugly situation. Well, amongst the documents laid on you the other day by our faithful correspondent we found the actual smoking gun in an email written on January 22, 2008, by Kerry Morrison to Heather Repenning and Helen Leung, then-council-president and CD13 representative Eric Garcetti’s District Director of Community Development and Hollywood Field Deputy respectively.
Heather — wanted to see if you had an idea as to how we might be able to communicate with the families located around Selma Park…As you may know, with the help Helen [sic] and the rest of your team at CD-13, we’ve been able to designate the entire park as a children’s play area.
So that settles that. HPOA and Eric Garcetti’s staff illegally excluded everyone without kids from Selma Park at some time before January 22, 2008.
Well, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that Mitch O’Farrell, accompanied by LAPD Hollywood Boss-o-Rootie Peter Zarcone, gave a press conference out on the Boulevard explaining that nightclubs are really bad and if they break the laws, they’re going to be treated like homeless people and subjected to laser-focused nit-picksy iron-fisted enforcement. And the Weekly reported the same story but with much saucier photographs. O’Farrell even used the motherfricking Q-word:
This culture is diminishing the quality of life for people who live here and we are determined to bring them into compliance or shut them down.
Pro-tip: Whenever anyone ever under any circumstances in any official capacity says the Q-word, not only are they lying, but they’re going to be aiming a gun at you quite soon.
But none of these news stories reported on why Mitch is doing this and why he’s doing it now. Long-time readers of this blog will recall exactly where we have heard this nonsense before. That is, only at EVERY freaking BID meeting we’ve ever attended. There was the one where they hated on nightclubs cause their clientele is too dark-skinned and poor and the one where they conspired with Zarcone to institute hyper-enforcement in an effort to get liquor licenses pulled and so on. Mitch isn’t cracking down on nightclubs because anyone who lives in Hollywood cares. He didn’t even ask anyone who lives in Hollywood. This is nothing more than the latest delusional scene in the fevered psychodrama of Kerry Morrison’s and John Tronson’s and jittery little psychopath Carol Massie’s neurotic mental relationships with the wrong kind of people having the wrong kind of fun in public in Hollywood. What they’re saying when Mitch O’Farrell’s mouth is moving is that their ideal Hollywood denizens are white people who spend a lot of money quietly and go home in an orderly manner before midnight. You know, like they have in Minneapolis or something. Continue reading MK.Org Scoops Freaking Everybody with the Story Behind the Story of Mitch O’Farrell’s Anti-Hollywood-Nightclub Denunciations, Threats, and Posturings→
Watch here for the final bit of a Hollywood BID Patrol operation on Ivar Avenue on June 30, 2015. There are about 12 of them milling around on the sidewalk after, evidently, having kicked out a bunch of homeless people, most probably on the basis of suspected violations of disgraceful LAMC 41.18(d). Of course, if you know the spot you’ll know that there are homeless people there essentially all the time, only very rarely getting kicked out by the BID Patrol.
So what horrific incident was it that required the presence of about a dozen of Hollywood’s finest1 on a pleasant Tuesday afternoon on Ivar Avenue? Murder, rape, homeless encampment, street-preaching? The amazing thing is that no one there seemed to know for sure except, we assume given that the principle of charity requires us to assume that the BID Patrol both has reasons for its actions and at the same time knows what those reasons are, the officers themselves.
One witness, though, spent the time and the effort to share his theory on the BID Patrol’s motivation with our correspondent. This is what David Graeber calls “interpretative labor,” an activity which, as Graeber has it, “much of the everyday business of social life” comprises, an activity in which people with guns, made stupid by their own potential for state-sanctioned violence, do not typically engage, as they clearly do not in this case:2
Thank you for filming, cause they only pulled up when I started talking about God and Jesus. I was just talking about God and Jesus and taking the Illuminati down, and every day they don’t never bother nobody, and let them sit here, right? Well, all of a sudden today I came and started talking about God and Jesus and taking down the Illuminati, cause I’m in the middle of a documentary, all of a sudden they get a hundred calls a day. God bless us all, the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name.
The release of the HPOA’s quarterly newsletter is always an interesting time here at MK.org secret headquarters. On the one hand we’re always aghast at the latest stupidity, cupidity, mental rigidity, and white privilegidity on display. On the other hand, we always end up with a bunch of topics about which to write. The Summer 2015 issue is no exception.
As every regular reader of this blog knows by now, the HPOA is hysterically opposed to the legalization of street vending in Los Angeles. They’ve entered into conspiracies with the abhorrent Central City Association to subvert the democratic process through astroturfing and mendacity. And, according to Kerry Morrison, writing in the newsletter:
Before an ordinance is drafted, the CLA [Chief Legislative Analyst] staff presided over a series of public hearings to gain input from the community. Staff representing both BIDs, along with board members, attended each of these hearings and expressed the concerns of the business community. However, members of the business community were outnumbered easily 10:1 at these hearings.
Hollywood board member Alyssa Van Breene and staffer Devin Strecker attended the first meeting on May 28 in Boyle Heights. When they tried to share their concerns the audience booed. Though there were no boos or hissing at the second hearing on June 11 in Van Nuys, the audience was unruly and disrespectful to those testifying against the ordinance or speaking on behalf of small business.
David Graeber is one of my eternal intellectual heroes, and I recommend most highly to anyone who can read his stunning, transformative work, Debt: The First 5000 Years. His most recent book, a collection of essays entitled The Utopia of Rules: On Technology Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy is, while less sweeping than Debt, essential reading. In particular, for the purpose of understanding the violence of the BIDs and the utter, abject stupidity of the BIDs and their minions, one essay, Dead Zones of the Imagination, stands out above the rest.
I’ll run through the premises and argument after the break, but a crucial conclusion that Graeber reaches here, and one whose relevance will be immediately obvious to sane readers of this blog, is that
…violence is so often the preferred weapon of the stupid. One might even call it the trump card of the stupid, since (and this is surely one of the tragedies of human existence) it is the one form of stupidity to which it is most difficult to come up with an intelligent response.
We have previously noted that the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance arrests an awful goddamned lot of people for drinking in public. Furthermore, they maintain an utterly schizophrenic attitude about public drinking, arresting the homeless while not arresting the non-homeless for this most natural of human activities. We have suggested that the BID could solve this problem by merely ceasing to enforce this ridiculous law, but our finely crafted arguments have thus far been ignored, making us feel much as the habitually bad-rapped King Canute must have done when dealing with that whole wave thing.
But we’re not discouraged! We live to serve! We have more unsolicited advice for the HPOA. Even though we think their focus on Hollywood’s putative public drinking problem borders on either the delusional or the deliberate employment of the good old Große Lüge for the usual unsavory and genocidal purposes, we do understand that their livelihoods depend on keeping the arrest rates high. We figure that it’s at least plausible that they don’t want to stop arresting people because they’ll be out of a job if they do. As Albert Einstein1 used to say, “it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
First we need a little background on how the HPOA sees the purpose of the BID Patrol. According to executive directrix Kerry Morrison (in an email to our tireless correspondent which was almost certainly written, given its exquisitely lawyeresque quasi-literate lack of concrete content, by Minneapolitan Jeffrey Charles Briggs, the HPOA’s attorney for such matters) “they make citizen arrests with respect to conduct LAPD is empowered to cite but lacks resources or the command decision to do so.” The semantics is clear though the syntax is muddy. The BID Patrol arrests people that the LAPD could arrest but just doesn’t for some reason. The point, of course, is that the BID Patrol gets to be selective about who they arrest, wielding California’s overflowing cornucopia of stupid misdemeanors like a bloody scythe in the fields of Hollywood and thereby, they seem to think, discouraging homeless people from hanging out in the BID. This sentiment was stated even more clearly than Jeff Briggs (or Kerry Morrison, whoever it was) could bring themself to do by an anonymous BID Officer, who once chortled in both his joy2 and in range of a video camera that “You don’t challenge the BID officers. The BID officers have the authority to arrest you. What we do is blessed by the staff at Hollywood Division. We’re helping them out.
Now, we’re almost to the suggestion, which is based on the at-least-plausible theory that when trying to solve drug consumption problems it’s more effective to attack the supply side rather than the demand side. The BIDs have made some minor moves in this direction, evinced e.g. by an article in their Spring 2014 newsletter in which Kerry Morrison claims that “two owners of area liquor stores … are working with us to minimize sales to our homeless neighbors who suffer from alcohol addiction.” But, vide Canute again, this is never gonna happen. You can’t stop suppliers from fulfilling a demand by asking them nicely. That money’s not going to be left on the table. The BID knows this when it comes to the homeless. They could ask them nicely to leave, but they, reasonably given their goals, don’t bother. Instead they just fucking arrest them. It turns out, and now we’re at the point finally, that they could be doing the same thing to the liquor store owners and employees although, for whatever reasons, they choose not to. Read on for details! Continue reading HPOA Chooses Not to Arrest Law-Flouting Liquor Dealers, Proving its Selective Enforcement Intended to Eliminate Homeless Rather than Cut Hollywood Crime→
According to Andrews International:
[B]udgetary constraints leave local police little choice but to focus primarily on reactive enforcement, [but] CAPS officers have the resources and support to actually serve as agents of change in the community. In partnership with law enforcement and assisted by community interest groups, social services agencies, and local businesses, CAPS officers focus on bridge building and problem solving.
Note that “CAPS officers” are how Andrews International refers to BID Patrollies when they’re trying to bullshit their way into more work like they do for the HPOA. And just look at the BID Patrol guy to your right, serving as an agent of change in the community, building bridges, solving problems!
And they’re not just flipping off one another back in BID Patrol secret headquarters during their weirdo macho team-building rituals, they’re out on the street, arresting people for things that aren’t crimes in sane places, like drinking beer on the street, and flipping off their victims, too. Continue reading Andrews International BID Patrol: Welcome to Hollywood, Now Fuck You!→