Just what you have all been waiting for, friends! More tales from the massive DCBID document dump of a couple weeks ago. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving!1 And yeah, from one point of view this is yet another inconsequential bit of floof like our recent story about Lena Mulhall, CCALA office manager, using the office UPS account to ship various personal cosplay-linked merchandise hither and yon. But from another, it’s more than consequential, it’s essential evidence of … but of course, you have no idea what I’m talking about cause you haven’t seen the damn email.
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.
So today the City Council moved forward with CF 13-1493, which, of course, is the famed street vending thing. For a good, objective,1 discussion of today’s developments, take a look at this article in today’s Times by the incomparable Emily Alpert Reyes.2 This is just a brief post to note the fact that the various anti-human opponents of legalized street vending won a major, seemingly unnoticed by anyone but me, victory via amendment in the current version of the motion.
Today I uploaded documents from the DCBID, the Fashion District, and some emails from Raquel Beard to the Mayor’s office. The DCBID’s Operations Committee agendas are here, and according to Suzanne Holley this is all of them for which there are electronic copies. They don’t meet very often, it seems. Next up we have 2015 minutes and agendas for the Fashion District BID Board of Directors. There’s some interesting stuff here, although I haven’t had time to read them carefully. For instance, on February 26, 2015, the Board heard about the Central City Association’s plot to hire Rodriguez Strategies to fight the legalization of street vending in LA. The new information here is that Carol Schatz evidently pegged the cost at $60,000 and Kent Smith of the FDBID asked and received from the Board approval to donate $10,000. I think that, given how the original initiative expanded, including the hiring of subordinate publicists, that original estimate must have ended up to be quite low. In March Kent asked for and received from the board $5,000 to oppose Carol Liu’s Right to Rest Act. I really do wonder if this kind of political activism is a legal use of BID money, since it’s supposed to be used to provide services in the district above and beyond what the City provides. How, I wonder, is taking positions on state laws consistent with this charge? A question for another day, I guess. And finally, after the break, we have some emails from Raquel Beard of the CCEA to Eric Garcetti’s office. Continue reading New Documents, Mostly Routine, although Assistant LAPD Chief Jorge Villegas Explicitly Acknowledges Limitations of Arrests as a Tool for Addressing Homelessness→
We’ve written before about the HPOA’s crazed-and-at-the-mouth-foaming opposition to Councilmembers Huizar’s and Price’s proposed ordinance legalizing street vending in the city of Los Angeles. We’ve written about the HPOA’s scheme to send its agents to public meetings in the ill-concealed guise of concerned citizens opposing the ordinance. Today we report on Kerry Morrison’s recent discussion of her experience orchestrating that whole fiasco. We’ll analyze it line by line, and you can watch the whole thing here and/or read a transcription after the break.
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.
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?→