OK, listen up! Long-time readers1 of this blog will recall that in 2010 and 2011 the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition, the Media District BID, some LAPD folks, and some random neighborhood residents all engaged in a “mediation process” of some type, mostly aimed at getting the food coalition to move its nightly feeding program out of the BID. The whole document is well worth reading, stunning as it is vis–à–vis its truly astonishing level of crazy, but we’re focusing on just one episode. Let us now lay out the dramatis personæ.
First we have facilitator Peter Robinson, now at Pepperdine. We don’t have much to say about him except that, according to his Pepperdine bio, he’s got an excellent sense of humor. He’d have to have, wouldn’t he?
Second, we have then Hollywood Patrol Commanding Officer (now Deputy Chief) Beatrice Girmala,2 who, although not actually present at the moment about which we write, was nevertheless in control of everything that transpired in a way in which we, free citizens of a constitutional republic, do not expect to be associated with our police. We are certainly pragmatists, though, and understand that once the police can gun us down on the streets with impunity they can a fortiori randomly interfere in our lawful business dealings as well. Read on for the real crazy!
Third, we have neighborhood activist Paul Lerner, evidently a co-founder of some organization called the Melrose Crybabies United or some such thing, and they run a blog here where they whine about everything and then some. Mansionization, NIMBY-ism, crazed fear of everything that’s not squeaky-white and clean, you name it, they whine about it right there on the World Wide Web. We have Carol Cassella of the Media District BID Board, Mark McCaslin of who-knows-what-zillionaire-thing, and Mike Parker of the Media District BID Board. Finally we have the saintly Ted Landreth, leader of the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition. And now let’s get to the story.
Take a look at the Hollywood Rubber Stamp Building, just sitting pretty right there at 6562 Santa Monica Blvd. (roughly at Hudson). No one seems to be using it for much these days, and it’s got that big open courtyard. The Media District BID and everyone else involved in this mediation whose interests center around3 areas south-adjacent to the Boulevard were, throughout the mediation “process,” hot and heavy for the GWHFC to move their nightly food service into this building, and Ted Landreth seemed willing because of the courtyard. The building’s owner is, according to participants, some kind of reclusive eccentric. If Howard Hughes hadn’t moved to the Georgia Sea Islands to take his extraterrestrial immortality pills in peace,4 he’d probably be the owner of this building. He did, though, so they got a whole nother guy but along those same lines.
No one seemed to know if he wanted to sell the building, lease out the building to someone, or what, but everyone was falling all over themselves to get the GWHFC off the corner of Sycamore and Romaine and into this building or, really, anywhere north of where they were, or more south for that matter. East would do, too, although we think all sane people would agree that west’s not gonna happen. Anywhere, that is, away from their buildings, preferably invisible. So everyone on the BID Board seemed to think that the Hollywood Rubber Stamp building would be great for the food coalition to move its operations to. It’s on the edge of the BID, away from everything but a lumber yard, and masses of homeless people there won’t impede the already-counted-upon-by-the-BIDdies development of the unhatched chickens being brooded in the feverish incubator of La Brea Avenue between Santa Monica and Melrose:
Cassella mentioned that the empty old Hollywood Rubber Stamp building on Santa Monica Blvd. is empty and that it could be an ideal location for Landreth’s program. She went on by saying she has been in the building and there is quite a bit of off street outdoor open space contained within. She added that there are no for sale or lease signs on the building, and she knows that the owner is very hard to reach.
McCaslin added that from his perspective Landreth’s feeding program located at corner of La Brea and Romaine is somewhat doomed because of the future development. He continued by saying that the idea of a building such as the old Hollywood Rubber Stamp building sounds ideal. He added that the City and/or County would need to be involved for this to be a success. Robinson added that if a building like the old Hollywood Rubber Stamp building could be purchased, there would still be many issues of ongoing finance and management. Cassella added that bringing the old building up to code would be a formable [sic] challenge. Parker said the building could become a multi-service facility and Landreth’s organization would be just one of the tenants there. Others could be medical services and such. McCaslin summed up things by saying, or rather asking, if the old Hollywood Rubber Stamp building could be a focus and to begin looking for other organizations to partner with in the effort to obtain the building. He also added that a written proposal would be needed.Parker said that the old Hollywood Rubber Stamp building possibly could be leased and not purchased, which could be an advantage for the property’s owner. Parker continued with mentioning that two of the BID’s Board members are in real estate, Mike Malick and Thor Lee, and they could possibly be helpful. He continued by saying they could get information about the building. McCaslin added that when contacting the owner or getting information, it may not be the best idea to mention who would be the new tenant. He said the owner could be reluctant and put off by the possibility of leasing to such new tenants.
Parker and Cassella said they will discuss all with Mike Malick and Thor Lee, and they will come back to the group with some information.
Look at ’em all! They don’t even know the owner of the building and they’ve already got his property turned into a full-scale “multi-service” facility, whatever the hell that is. They’re so hot to get the food coalition away from La Brea Avenue and its myriad forthcoming real-estate apotheosoi5 that they’re requisitioning a building, deciding whether it’d be best for the owner, who’s not there and hasn’t had any input, to sell or to lease. They’re that eager to get rid of the GWHFC. But, even if the owner’s Martian voices would have told him to sell or lease it to them for their purposes, it was not to be.
LAPD lickspittle community service honcho Paul Lerner, who him and Girmala, they’re like that, man, that close, delivered the killing blow at a later meeting:
Lerner said that he believes the old Rubber Stamp building is not a possible or potential location for Ted’s program because LAPD Hollywood Division’s Capt. Girmala does not and would not ever support this. Lerner continued by saying that Capt. Girmala has stated this, and it was based on that the old Rubber Stamp building is to close to a public school. He also said that he believes Capt. Girmala does not want the program moved any further into the Hollywood Division area because of the related problems stemming from it.
Note Lerner’s choice of words. It’s not a possible or potential location for Ted’s program because LAPD Hollywood Division’s Capt. Girmala does not and would not ever support this. Girmala doesn’t like it because it’s near a school, so, according to Lerner, it’s just not possible. Now, set aside for one moment the fact that none of these people has talked to the actual owner of the building who, presumably, since he owns the goddamned building, could certainly lease it to whomever he wants, even if the LAPD doesn’t like it. That’s why we have all these marijuana stores and strip clubs everywhere, right?6 It’s that pesky freedom-to-contract stuff that’s the very foundation of our free society and blah-de-blah-blah-blah. Set that aside, as we said. Now, all else being equal, either Girmala, who by her oath of office is sworn to protect and defend the constitution, is falling down a little on the old protect-and-defend when it comes to the homeless and their allies, not to mention the right, antedating the constitution, of freedom to contract, or else Lerner is misrepresenting something, possibly to create an impression of connectedness with LAPD-ites. Hell, maybe it’s both.
Whatever’s up with these two, however, it’s important to remember that in a free society private individuals don’t actually need the permission of the police to make real estate deals.7 They’re subject only to zoning regulations. Maybe cops get input into decisions if they’re the kind of decisions that require hearings, but if not they don’t, and even if so they certainly don’t have veto power. Sheesh.
Finally, we will note one other statement by Girmala:
Capt. Girmala said an entrance and exit strategy is needed. She continued by saying that PD officers very often have to be near the corner of Sycamore and Romaine, and that they do not have enough resources for this. Also, Officer Davis commented that if they are called response time might be slow.
No, we don’t want to get all didactic,8 but it’s important to remember here why we even have police in the first place. The only reason is to protect people while they go about their lawful activities. People choose their own laws, then they choose their activities in conformity with those laws, and then the police try to facilitate that by preventing unlawful interference with people’s lawful activities. The police are guided by what’s lawful. What’s lawful is not guided by the police.
If it’s lawful for the GWHFC to feed people at Sycamore and Romaine, and it certainly must be or else they would have been shut down a hundred times over, then it’s the job of the police to protect them in the enjoyment of their legal right, not to sit around whining about how much of their time it takes up. What is their time even for? Anyway, that’s enough of that, and we apologize for taking up your time with a post that’s only tangentially about the BIDs, but it needed saying so we said it.
- In this case, “long-time” means 2 or more days.
- We hate to link to live web pages, but in this case it’s unavoidable, as the latest archived version of Girmala’s bio is sadly out of date.
- If you have some problem with the phrase “center around” please, do everyone a favor and don’t tell us about it. We’ve already heard your reasoning, whatever it is, and it’s stupid and wrong. Thank you.
- We swear, this is true, and you heard it here first. Howard Hughes is still alive and living on one of the minor Sea Islands off the Georgia Coast. He’s surviving on immortality pills that he gets from Martians as part of a deal he made to use RKO to push their secret agenda throughout the Cold War, which explains the whole Kennedy thing and so forth. We heard it straight from Clifford Irving.
- Sorry… SORRY!
- We here at MK.org don’t actually mind marijuana stores and strip clubs or, if we do mind them, we love FREEDOM more than we don’t love strip clubs. This is just an example and we’re not endorsing the mindset behind it.
- It’s possible that in San Francisco people do need permission to make real estate deals even if the deals are within the zoning code. They have the weirdest zoning laws in the country in San Francisco. That’s why we emphasized free society above. Note that we make a lot of stuff up and we talk a lot of smack about San Francisco, and even make stuff up in the course of talking smack, but this is not made up. They really do have very strange zoning laws in Frisco.
- Obviously we do want to get all didactic. We’re just denying it for rhetorical effect and then undercutting our own statement in this footnote also for rhetorical effect.
Picture of Steve Seyler and Bea Girmala is in the public domain, obtained as it was as the fruits of a California Public Records act request from the HPOA. Official LAPD picture of Bea Girmala is likewise in the public domain. Image of Paul Lerner is a screenshot from this video and appears here under a claim of fair use. Image of Hollywood Rubber Stamp Building is ©2015 MichaelKohlhaas.org. Image of Howard Hughes is public domain according to the Wiki-meisters, which is who we got it from and you can too! Picture of chickies is public domain cause ’twas made by the USDA and we got it via Wikimedia. Image of Bancroft Middle School we took straight off the school’s website. Note that they claim that the material on their website is copyrighted, but then, we know better, don’t we. Image of dog wagging tail instead of vice versa is released under the CC BY 3.0 by its creator Paul863 and is available via Wikimedia.