We have written many a post about Kerry Morrison’s weirdly obsessive hatred of the street characters at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue and how she uses the power of her BID to attack them at every turn. Her surreality-based antipathy has at various times inspired her co-conspirators at the LAPD to crack down heavily on these performers, even to the point where Carol Sobel had to sue the cops in Federal Court to stop the neurotic vendetta.
She’s spent at least a decade railing against these characters and working with the City Attorney, the City Council, private attorneys, everyone in sight, without notable success, to ban their activities, to stop them wearing masks, to require them to wear identity badges, to conflate them with terrorists, and so on. Well, we’ve been looking into the matter a little more deeply, and today we’re here to tell you a story about street characters, the KKK, domestic terrorism, anti-mask laws, and property values in Hancock Park.1 First let’s take a little trip through 7 years worth of the minutes of the Board of Directors of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, concentrating on the street characters of Hollywood and Kerry Morrison’s efforts to thwart them by any means necessary:
- June 2006—Morrison and Deputy City Attorney Bill Kysella have drafted a resolution for consideration by Council President Eric Garcetti that the City Attorney’s office work with the Hollywood Entertainment District and the Hollywood Division of the LAPD to evaluate potential solutions to document the identity of the street characters and performers, regulate their activities, and ban the use of masks in the interests of protecting public safety on the public right-of-way within the Hollywood Enterainment District.
- August 2006—John Tronson reported on a meeting held and Hollywood & Highland with David Gershwin, Chief of Staff for Council President Eric Garcetti, held on August 15 . As a result of that meeting, Morrison emailed a succinct question to the council office, requesting their help in securing research from the city attorney’s office on the following question:
“Is there a regulatory framework within which it would be legal to require identification badges to be worn by individuals involved in performances, street art or posing for tips on the public right-of-way in the Hollywood Entertainment District?”
Tronson and Morrison expressed concern that if no action were forthcoming from the city relative to this issue, perhaps the HED should hire its own first amendment attorney. Then it would be possible to articulate some potential solutions that are not unconstitutional.
It was moved by John Tronson, seconded by Chris Bonbright and CARRIED to spend up to $9,000 to hire a First Amendment attorney to advise the HEDPOA on potential and legally defensible remedies to address the unregulated street character issue in front of the Kodak and Chinese Theatres, subject to Hollywood & Highland and Mann’s matching the HED contribution ($3000 each).
Now they not only want to unmask them, they want to make them wear badges. And they want the City Attorney to figure out how to do this legally. Here’s a pro-tip: There’s no fricking way to make people wear ID badges just so they can dress like Spiderman on Hollywood Blvd. No way at all. And guys? “First amendment lawyers” make their living suing the hell out of people like you, not advising you on how to violate the constitution.
- March 2007—Because it has been impossible to secure assistance from the city relative to a legal opinion on the extent to which first amendment matters could be more tightly regulated, it was also suggested that Morrison seek an estimate as to the cost of a private legal analysis, prepared by a competent first amendment attorney, as to the limits of what the city could regulate (political considerations aside) relative to (a) first amendment march time/place and manner restrictions,2 and (b) regulation of the street characters on the public right-of-way, including consideration of a mask ordinance.
Interestingly, did you know that California already has an anti-mask law? It’s at 185 PC. The trouble is that in order to break it you have to be wearing the mask in furtherance of some already illegal activity, which standing around on the street taking pictures with tourists is not. Also, it’s good to see that the City Attorney, who already kowtows way too much to the whims of the BIDs, wasn’t on board for this nonsense. We’ll see more evidence of this in the very next item, although it’s from five years later.
- July 2012—The Character Enforcement Working Group had a meeting last week with LAPD and the city attorney; the group also discussed issues related to music CD vendors. The city attorney asked for a “top 10” offenders list with help from Hollywood & Highland. A test case was given to the city attorney back in May but they dropped the ball. As a result, the tension was high at the meeting, and the city attorney ended up leaving the meeting.
Here we are, five years later, and the BID is still obsessing over street characters. It’s worth noting that in 2010 Carol Sobel sued the City of LA and got an injunction forbidding the LAPD from their illegal enforcement practices. Meanwhile, back in Hollywood, the BID is actually yelling at the City Attorney over freaking Spiderman to the point where they walked out of a meeting. Sheesh, right? The first amendment is fairly clear on this, and the time, place, and manner restrictions so beloved of control-freak creeps everywhere just are almost never going to work on a freaking sidewalk. Ever.
- July 2013—Action: Review and approve joint request (BID and Chamber) to city officials re/ public safety wish list…Adopt a “No Mask” (or other actions to conceal identities) ordinance for the block in front of Hollywood & Highland because of the threat of terrorism.
Now at last the heavy artillery is aimed. Now we see that street characters, at least those in front of H&H, are fronting for terrorists. To the point where somehow the City of LA is supposed to throw out 225 years of first amendment jurisprudence and force Spiderman to reveal his secret identity. Unreal, eh? Only in Hollywood.
By the way, did you know that anti-mask laws in the US mostly actually are a response to terrorism? It’s true, but it’s likely not the kind of terrorism Kerry Morrison is talking about here. It turns out that the Ku Klux Klan and their endless campaigns of domestic racist terrorism inspired most anti-mask laws in this country. And not only that, but the KKK was3 quite active in Los Angeles even very late into the 20th Century.
In fact, in 1948, when singer Nat King Cole bought a house at 401 S. Muirfield Road in Hancock Park, where our hero Kerry Morrison also happens to reside,4 the KKK came out and burned a cross on his lawn by way of welcoming him to the neighborhood.5 Well, we’ve written before about how racial housing segregation in Los Angeles functions as a tool for transferring wealth from non-white people to white people and how, regardless of the decline of social racism, the fiscal effects of white supremacy are alive and well in our city to the present day.
This can be seen in the fact that houses in the neighborhood of Muirfield Road go for about $1,000 per square foot right now, whereas houses of comparable size and quality in formerly ritzy but now ghetto-encroached neighborhoods in South Los Angeles, e.g. Adams-Normandie, are mostly carved up into multifamily housing and go for only about 20% of that.
This price differential was created by white supremacism, enforced by white supremacists like the KKK burning crosses on the pristine lawns of Hancock Park, and enhanced by the awesome powers of white supremacist interest compounding and other such-like fiscal abracadabraisms. The financial beneficiaries of this white supremacist real estate voodoo even today are living in those big mansions, thriving on the fiscal effects of terrorism unchecked by any anti-mask laws, unprotested by any BID, unaddressed by the City of Los Angeles.
Kerry Morrison’s Hancock Park home is worth three to five times6 what it would be worth without the terroristic efforts of the KKK, and yet she hasn’t done anything to remedy that. As far as we can tell, the very vocal Ms. Morrison, who has an opinion on every issue with which she’s confronted, has never even uttered a peep, tweeted a tweet, on the subject, has never expressed any sympathy for the victims whose living heart’s blood, squeezed out of them like so much orange juice, has nourished the unholy increase of her wealth. Just the opposite, in fact: she’s not only consenting with her silence but thriving on the fruits of terrorism financially as well as forming family trusts to leave this pirate treasure to her heirs so they can thrive on it too, while she sits around HPOA secret headquarters laughing it up over the misery of her victims. After all, conveniently, Spiderman is the real terrorist.
Here are all the mentions of street characters that our faithful correspondent found in his recent review of HPOA minutes from 2006 through 2013. There may be others:
- June 2006
- August 2006
- September 2006
- March 2007
- June 2007
- November 2007
- July 2012
- July 2013
- September 2013
Image of cross burning is freely licensed as explained here. Likewise with the image of the street characters. Nat King Cole image is public domain work by the US Government. Image of 2744 Raymond Avenue is ©2016 MichaelKohlhaas.org.
- Where Kerry Morrison resides.
- This is a whole nother weirdo obsession of Kerry Morrison’s. They flip TFO about protest marches in Hollywood. They just actually cannot deal with people using the streets of our city for anything other then buying their goddamned t-shirts. We don’t have time to write on this today but we hope to get to it at some point.
- And probably still is.
- Technically she lives in Windsor Square, although everyone else thinks of it as Hancock Park. Windsor Square is less than a mile from Cole’s house on Muirfield.
- There is a good account of this incident in Peter Levinson’s biography of Nelson Riddle.
- Windsor Square isn’t as ritzy as the area around Muirfield Road, but houses there are still in the $600 to $800 per square foot range.