CIM Group, widely known for sending out demolition teams in the dark of night to tear shit down in violation of their building permits,1 leading a judge to invalidate those permits after tenants had already moved in to the building, deputes minion Monica Yamada to serve as its representative to the Joint Security Committee of the Hollywood Entertainment District BID and the Sunset-Vine BID.
The purpose of the Joint Security Committee is, we suppose, to oversee the operations of Andrews International Security, with whom the BIDs contract to provide patrol services. The mission the BIDs have given to A/I2 is explained in the 2014-15-WORK-PLAN-FINAL-VERSION1-1:
It is the goal for the Board of Directors to restore civility to the public sidewalks in the Hollywood Entertainment District through the enforcement of laws which govern sidewalk behavior…
Seek regular law enforcement efforts and city prosecution of illegal behaviors on city sidewalks…
These laws include the abhorrent Los Angeles Municipal Code §41.18(d) as well as laws against drinking in public and public urination. This is the very same law which, as the incomparable Anatole France reminds us, in its “majestic equality … prohibits the wealthy as well as the poor from sleeping under the bridges, from begging in the streets, and from stealing bread.”3 It probably even prohibits the poor from sneaking out at night and illegally4 tearing down historic buildings in secret. A/I hyperenforces laws against poor people but has not, to our knowledge, ever arrested a real estate magnate, no matter how many buildings are illegally destroyed, even though they’re legally empowered to do so.
Yamada, of course, is famous for actively violating the Brown Act at the last Joint Security Committee meeting. She’s also well-known around these parts for insinuating that our correspondent was up to something “sinister” for refusing to give his name at a public meeting, a right that’s explicitly guaranteed by the Brown Act. Refusing to give one’s name with explicit statutory permission is sinister. Sending wrecking crews out to Sunset Boulevard in the middle of the night to destroy buildings in violation of building permits and legally binding agreements with the City is not sinister. A/I has not, to our knowledge, ever arrested anyone, not even Monica Yamada, for violating the Brown Act, even though they’re legally empowered to do so.
CIM, of course, is famous for this kind of blethering blatherskite: “Our professional responsibility begins with dedication to upholding the standard for integrity and ethics. Open, honest, and transparent communication is an integral component of our commitment to promoting trust and respect among our employees, partners, and investors. We can translate that for you: First sentence means “we break the law when we want to and call that the standard for integrity.” Second sentence means “We’re inside the tent pissing out.” A/I has not, to our knowledge, ever arrested anyone from CIM group, even though they’re legally empowered to do so.
The BID, of course, is famous for phrasing its goals in a creepily innocuous manner, e.g. they say they’re “seek[ing] city prosecution of illegal behaviors…” when really, one would think that if they really were, Yamada’s credibility with them would already have been thoroughly destroyed. And yet, if anything, it seems enhanced. She’s not just on the Joint Security Committee, she’s co-chair. Since she hasn’t been fired or resigned in shame5 we can only assume that the job she’s doing is the job she’s supposed to do: preventing consequences for law-breaking by the rich and powerful while encouraging punitive hyperenforcement against the poor and weak, which, of course, is the BID’s goal too. Group hug!
P.S. We don’t talk much about positive action on this blog since our mission is to curse the darkness rather than to light a candle, but it’s really worth reading this article from the Weekly outlining a hearteningly successful guerrilla lawfare campaign against CIM group and its ilk.
- See The façade is gone, but the legal fight continues. Park-La Brea News, October 17, 2013. Aaron Blevins.
- “A/I” is how Andrews International refers to itself in various internal documents. We pay them the common courtesy of adopting their autonomenclature here, as weirdly cacophonic as it is.
- From Le Lys Rouge.
- This footnote is mostly an excuse to cite another article on CIM Group’s illegal behavior: Appeal Hearing Tuesday Revisits the Illegal Midnight Demolition of Hollywood’s Old Spaghetti Factory in City Watch LA by Ziggy Kruse, October 4, 2013.
- There’s still time, Monica. Better late than never.
Image of Monica Yamada is ©2014 MichaelKohlhaas.org