California politics is a tough way to make a living. We play hardball out here on the coast! If you can’t hit major league pitching you gotta leave the bright lights big city and head back in bowed-down shame to Santa Monica or West Hollywood or some other no-count small town.
On October 7, 2014, Hollywood Media District BID property owner Toni Werk wrote to Jim Omahen, HMD operations director, about her parcel at 6065 Melrose Avenue. The gist of her complaint is this:
For the more than $12,000 that I have contributed to the BID, I, or my tenant, have not received one word of promotion in your newsletter. During business hours, my tenant says he has seen your bike patrol only a few times. And during after hours, there is no one staying on our property to phone your Security Patrol if there is an issue. As I originally did not want to participate in the bid [sic], and I voted no against it again, I have been forced to pay a tax that has not been any benefit to me or my tenant.
Jim, rightfully, forwarded this complaint on to his boss, the jolly but rather knuckle-headed Steven Whiddon, who replied, in characteristically evasive1 fashion, replied:
I am happy to report that Captain John Iragoyan [sic] and myself [sic] completed a site visit of your property 6065 Melrose Avenue. We spoke with your leasee, [sic] Tom Pena about the issues you stated in the email below. We made sure he understands we are here to serve and has all of our contact information. He understands that he can contact us at any time to assist with the issues below. …
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→
On October 23, 2014, an Army veteran wrote to Devin Strecker of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, among others, the following words:
This morning on my way to work, I was standing waiting to cross the street when I look over and see the gentleman on the left in the picture attached, grasping his weapon as if to draw his fire arm all while chatting away with the gentleman on the right. As I continued to wait to cross the street, I noticed the gentleman on the left start to pull out actually draw his weapon about 4-5 inches out of his holster. All the while standing chatting with his partner. I am ex army infantry, when we even had our hand TOUCHING our holstered weapon, there better had been a life threatening reason to even touch our holstered weapon.