Recall that I’ve been tracking the hysterical, irrational opposition of LA’s business improvement districts to the ongoing process of legalizing (some aspects of) street vending in the City since the Spring of 2015. A truly astonishing level of bitching and moaning in 2015 stalled out the whole process for most of 2016 because, I believe, everyone was too freaking sick of the whining and the carefully orchestrated lying on any number of occasions and the City just needed a rest. Until the November election of Donald Trump and his subsequent threats to deport essentially anyone, U.S. citizen or not, who’d ever smiled while thinking of eating a taco spurred the Council into action on at least the small part (small but in no way insignificant) of the plan to decriminalize illegal street vending so that, no matter how much trouble the zillionaires might cause the heladeros, at least they wouldn’t be subject to arrest and subsequent deportation. That bit seemed urgent enough to pass Council outright, and even the anti-vending forces of the zillionaire elite seemed to realize that they were just going to be exposed as the nasty little mean creeps that they are if they fought back on this particular issue. However, the Council put off acting on an actual legalization framework until later.
But recall, as I reported in January, the instructions for the report-back were altered from the original, and quite sensible,1 request for
A process to create special vending districts to be initiated by Council, the Board of Public Works, or petition (with signatures from 20 percent of property owners or businesses in the proposed district), based on legitimate public health, safety and welfare concerns that are unique to specific neighborhoods with special circumstances.
to a request for language
Providing the City Council the ability to opt out of certain streets by Council action.
When last we peeked into the Minutes of the Board of Directors of the Pacific Palisades BID, we learned that they were all sitting around up there in Northwest Zillionaireville quaking in their super-pricy boots over the influx of gang members from urban Santa Monica. Today, well, there’s the serious matter of street vending to discuss, of course, but first, take a look at the minutes from January 4, 2017, where we learn about this:
Homeless issue – One person is a problem on Via de la Paz lately. He is a 300 lb., male black man with a nasty temper. Officer Moore recommends signing a “Trespass Arrest Authorization” form which was handed out.
Got it? He weights three hundred pounds.1 He’s black. And not only that, he is both male and a man. This is a truly frightening situation! I’m wondering if their trespass authorization form has a place to put the weight of trespassers that the cops are authorized to arrest? The standard form does not, but the LAPD is famous for deploying multiple helicopters to fly against the homeless in the Palisades. Are they going to refuse them a custom anti-homeless trespass form? Especially if they’re being overrun by a horde of three hundred distinct pounds of angry homeless black male man?
I mean, I know you can never be too rich or too thin, but that the Palisadesians are extra-scared of this man because “he is a 300 lb., male black man…” is somewhat unexpected, even though 300 lb. people can certainly “pose to be dangerous.” I would have thought that fear of the homeless would be measured more by the individual than by the pound, but I’m wrong again. Certainly this is why I can’t afford to live in the Palisades amongst the jittery little psychopathic self-interested zillionaire theorists of homelessness. My priorities are obviously really confused.
Due to some kind-hearted click bait1 bestowed by loyal FOMs Esotouric, my colleagues’ recent post on the resurgence of the long-dormant proposed Echo Park Business Improvement District has turned out to be one of our most popular posts of 2016. The colleagues left out some absolutely essential information and so I’m following up on their behalves. Also I used the whole situation as an excuse to ride the 704 Eastbound to Echo Park Avenue and Sunset Blvd. to check out the situation on the ground.
First the essential info: This thing is on the agenda for the Economic Development Committee meeting on Tuesday, May 10, in room 1010 in City Hall. You can go tell them what you think about it. Unfortunately I have other commitments, and I’m sure approval is a foregone conclusion, but there’s the info if you want it.
Second, as you can see from the images accompanying this post, if the BID’s approved a lot of stuff is going to change out there. They’re going to chase off taco trucks. BIDs hate taco trucks with a passion that’s hard to understand. They even, believe it or not, hate taco trucks parked on private property. Showing an astonishing ignorance of the rights of property owners in a free society, they’ve been known to express amazement that they’re not against the law.
Even after all this time, it’s hard to understand why these people are so dead-set against legalizing and regulating something that’s not only happening now, but is going to be happening in the future because it’s an integral part of the culture of Los Angeles. We have some ideas, but whatever their reasoning is, we don’t think it would be too much to ask that they tell the truth while they’re opposing it.
First of all, Marie Rumsey wants you to know that there are only nine health inspectors for all of LA county and there are 50,000 street vendors. The point is that it’s unlikely that food vendors would be inspected sufficiently. Let’s forget, just for a second, that currently none of the vendors are inspected, so inspecting ANY of them would improve public health. According to Bloomberg, there are 10,000 illegal food vendors in Los Angeles (granted, out of 50,000 vendors total, but health inspectors don’t worry about balloon-sellers, do they?) That’s lie number one, Marie. Next, we can’t find hard data for the number of health inspectors in LA County at the moment, but a moment’s googling told us that in 1989 there were 47 of them, and in 1997 there were 161. That the number has dropped to 9 in 2015 seems beyond implausible. That’s lie number two, Marie.
We have written before about the BIDs’ hysterical, dishonest opposition to City Councilman José Huizar‘s proposal to legalize street vending. We’ve discussed the fact that many of the BID board members who oppose this law are themselves criminals, although not the kind who get prosecuted for their dirty deeds. We’ve written about how their froth-mouth rage at this relatively small move in the direction of sanity puts them in opposition to democracy itself. But we haven’t yet written about the very human cost of continuing to outlaw street vending in Los Angeles. Continue reading Don’t Incarcerate the Ice Cream Man→
In fact, they’re so horrified that the icky-poo Central City Association hired thuggish PR flacks Rodriguez Strategies to help defeat it. We’ll be writing much more on this presently, but for now you just need to know that one of the subterfuges that the BIDs and Rodriguez Strategies are proposing is to get the law modified to allow neighborhoods to opt in rather than the city-wide legalization that’s now on the table.
This is bad enough, of course, since everyone knows that opt-in regulations kill participation, but even this mild, skewed-in-her-favor form of democracy is too much for jittery little psychopath and big kahunette of the Sunset-Vine BID, Carol Massie. She doesn’t believe in the holy principle of one-person-one-vote. WHAT IF PEOPLE VOTE THE WRONG WAY??!? After hearing a couple of flacks from Rodriguez explain the strategy at the March 17, 2015 meeting of the SVBID board of directors, Carol Massie ranted thusly:
Um…you know, Kerry, uh, one of the things that I think we should consider…and this was something that you mentioned, Marie, was the idea of having a certain percentage of the residents and the businesses. The problem with the residents is that they don’t deal with the things that the businesses do, so they might say “WHOAH! A bunch of great, cheap food and cheap CDs, and they could vote it in, and then all the businesses are outvoted, because there’s a lot fewer businesses than there are residents, and so having the residents in on the opt-ins [unintelligible] Continue reading Why Does Hollywood McDonald’s Queen Carol Massie Hate America, Mom, Apple Pie, Bacon Dogs, and the Residents of Hollywood?→