Recall that in April 2015 the two HPOA BIDs, the LAPD, and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce revealed an ongoing conspiracy to shut down minority-serving entertainment venues in Hollywood. Their favored technique for doing this is hyperenforcement of Conditional Use Permits (CUPs). These documents contain numerous restrictions on the operations of bars, restaurants, and so on. Violating these conditions while operating is actually a crime, and owners and employees of venues can be arrested for doing so. This actually happens, e.g. in the shameful case of the Rusty Mullet. Keep that in mind. The LAPD can physically arrest restaurant employees for violations of the CUP. It can also shut the venue down immediately if the CUP is being violated.
Now, in November 2015, eight months after the BID and Zarcone began targeting nightclubs and bars that they didn’t like,1 the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance sponsored a music festival centered around Cahuenga Boulevard between Hollywood and Selma, notably the most caucasian micro-neighborhood in Hollywood-nightlife-land. Thus, on September 9, 2015, Kerry Morrison wrote to LAPD and CD13:
This festival is intended to present a neighborhood “night-life” experience in Hollywood. We are trying to change the image of Hollywood by celebrating the authentic music and artistic options that are here. As such, the BID is “curating” over four days/nights dozens of different musical experiences, acts, pop-up art shows, comedy, etc — and inviting the public in to experience Hollywood as a walkable neighborhood. … The activity is largely going to be centered around Selma and Cahuenga — very little will happen on Hollywood Blvd.
By the way, this statement is full of dog whistles. Note the contrast between putatively authentic music and whatever kind of music they play on Hollywood Blvd. (hint: white:authentic :: ??:Hollywood Blvd. music) Note the scare quotes around “night-life,” and so on. But that’s not all:
Additionally — and this is why I’m including Dan [Halden] and Amy [Ablakat, both of CD13] on this as well — we’ve had some questions from some venues who want to have music to offer over the course of the festival. We are encouraging “unconventional”2 venues to participate — this is something that one experiences at South by Southwest, for example.3 So, a dry cleaner might have a band — (that won’t happen here, but you get the drift).4
So, we’ve had a question from two restaurants — Kitchen 24 and Outpost. They don’t have permits to have music, but would like to have music during the festival. Is is [sic] possible to apply for a special permit to allow for that for a limited time?
Please reach out with any questions.
As part of this festival, some venues wanted to host live music, but their CUPs prohibited live music. Not a problem in BID-world! First Kerry Morrison asked Mitch O’Farrell’s planning deputy Amy Ablakat:
My question was geared towards the few establishments that are precluded by their CUP to provide music. Since this is a music festival, we would want a restaurant, for example, to be able to have music playing.
Is there a way these venues can apply for a temporary variance on their CUP to do this…
And Amy Ablakat, who doesn’t seem to be paying the closest attention possible to this, answered:
Unless the property has a Conditional Use or some other planning action that prohibits live entertainment, City Planning would not have any issue live [sic] entertainment in a commercial zone.
But of course, a Conditional Use…that prohibits live entertainment is exactly what these two venues have. Amy isn’t going to solve this problem for Kerry. So she writes to Peter Zarcone:
Pete, is there someone on your team (vice?) who could help me navigate this issue?
The question has come up for places like K-24 or Outpost — whose CUP’s preclude live music — what can they do on a short term basis for the purposes of the Festival.
Do you have someone who can help me with this — so I can advise some of our businesses as to what is possible?
Note the whole I-am-only-seeking-information-not-favors tone. This is a tactic that Ms. Morrison uses when she’s trying to get the fix put it. You can see it in her recent ticket-fixing attempt and elsewhere. And thus does she maintain plausible deniability.
Anyway, after a little confusion, Pete Zarcone got back to Kerry Morrison about this, copying LAPD officers Jeff Poole and Randall Kutscher:
Jeff and Randall, Please give Kerry a call regarding one day permits for this 5-day event for Kitchen 24 and a couple of other locations. Thanks!
So that would be unfair enough, right? If Kerry Morrison decided to put on a festival and some of the venues were forbidden by law to host live music, but she emailed the then-head-honcho of Hollywood Station, Peter Zarcone, and got a bunch of nepotistic ad hoc CUP variances for her buddies’ restaurants. But there is a twist to this story, friends! It seems that they never got the variances but they hosted the music anyway. And did LAPD Vice send its stormtroopers in to arrest everyone for allowing music in violation of CUP conditions, which is what they have been doing to the Cosmo and the Rusty Mullet and their ilk for over a year now? Not hardly. Here’s Pete Zarcone rallying the stormtroopers for the event:
The venues on this link were told they could get one day permits through Sunday for this festival. I’m not sure if Jeff and Randall received all the requests, but I would have approved if they are on this list.
Please keep an eye on it, but don’t shut down the venues on this list unless it becomes a problem. Thanks!
Peter A. Zarcone
So let’s sum up. If you run a venue on one list prepared by the BID, a list of places on Hollywood Blvd. that play hip-hop and have too many brown and black patrons, the LAPD will send undercover officers to your establishment three times a week for a year, arresting your employees for CUP violations. If you run a venue on another list prepared by the BID, a list of places on Cahuenga Blvd. that don’t play hip-hop and have just enough brown and black patrons, then even if your CUP explicitly forbids live music and you don’t even bother to get a variance, the LAPD will not shut you down because Peter Zarcone and Kerry Morrison are far, far too friendly with each other. That is the kind of creepy undemocratic underhanded bullshit that BIDs bring to the neighborhoods in which they operate. It’s the kind of malfeasance that ought to be cause for discipline in the LAPD, but seems not to be. It’s the kind of stuff that makes BIDs very, very different from freaking street lighting districts, no matter what Mike Bonin thinks about them. It’s the kind of…forget it, Jake. It’s Hollywood.
Image of Peter Zarcone contemplating venue-cide is ©2015 MichaelKohlhaas.org.
- Because they had too many nonwhite patrons and possibly because they played hip-hop.
- These aren’t scare quotes, they’re the opposite of scare quotes. They’re meant to reassure the white audience of this email that the venues aren’t really unconventional, which would be scary indeed, but they’re what passes for unconventional among white zillionaires who are trying to market their neighborhood to 23-year-olds.
- Puke! Note that she didn’t say she experienced it at SXSW, just that “one” does. Why do these people freaking love SXSW so much? It fills the role in their personal marketing-to-23-year-olds pantheon that TED talks play in their success-on-the-bullshit-business-jargon-circuit pantheon. So sadly predictable.
- This kind of thing is why she put non-scare quotes around “unconventional.”