I started scrutinizing the three major Hollywood business improvement districts in late 2014, and soon discovered that the so-called BID Patrol, armed security guards employed by Andrews International under contract to the two BIDs managed by the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, that is to say the Hollywood Entertainment District BID and the Sunset & Vine BID, was responsible for more than one thousand custodial arrests of homeless residents of Hollywood every year.
And these arrests were1 ugly affairs. They involve harmless people, like ice-cream vendors, being handcuffed, forced into SUVs, and chained to a bench, sometimes for hours. There were 2,682 such arrests in 2007, a number of such shocking incomprehensibility that I published a four volume set of photographs of these victims in order to provide some means of visceralizing the sheer incredible magnitude.
So it was a welcome discovery indeed to find out that in 2015, almost certainly as a result of my scrutiny, BID patrol arrests dropped 70%, from 1,057 to 313. Circumstances beyond my control have, maybe you’ve noticed, limited my ability to write about the HPOA, but I recently obtained arrest rate statistics for 2016 and 2017, and they show an even more precipitous drop in arrests in the two HPOA BIDs, with only 152 custodial arrests in 2016 and only 131 in 2017.
Thus from 2015 to 2016 there was a more than 50% reduction, which was an 85.6% reduction from 2014, their last unscrutinized year. This trend continued in 2017. Of course, this huge reduction in arrests did not lead to any corresponding reduction in costs. The HPOA paid roughly the same in 20172 to have 131 homeless people arrested as it did in 2014 to have 1,057 homeless people arrested. I have no doubt whatsoever that this is due to my scrutiny, and I am about as proud of saving these multiple thousands of people the pain, humiliation, and legal troubles consequent on these chickenshit arrests as I am of anything I’ve ever done.
This kind of waste of money is hard to justify in the long term, and Kerry Morrison and her co-conspirators on the HPOA staff have already resorted to lying to property owners to cover up the torrential money-bleeding involved. After all, what financially prudent property-owning zillionaire wants to pay more than $1.7 million in 2017 to have 131 homeless people arrested when in 2014 one could get more than a thousand arrests for only around $1.5 million? Thus it was extremely heartening, if not especially surprising, to read in the August 9, 2017 minutes of the Joint Security Committee, the following incredibly3 sane statement:
Morrison mentioned that in the new Management Plan for the BID, there will be language included that will give the committee and board in the new BID the ability to consider an alternative to armed security. She said the flexibility will be created because with the decline in private persons arrests, and the desire expressed by some to see a more visible BID Patrol, this is an option that could be discussed. Steve said that in the interim, he is looking to try a pilot whereby a few unarmed bike patrol officers could be deployed, to increase visibility.
You probably recall that the Management District Plan is written when a BID is established, in Los Angeles is incorporated into the ordinance establishing the BID, and limits what BIDs can spend their money on. Thus it makes some kind of sense that Kerry Morrison is planning to wait until her BIDs renew in 2019 to implement this new policy.4 On the other hand, take a look at the Management District Plan that’s already in place. This allows for unarmed security as determined by the Board:
Resources will be earmarked to contract or hire a security team, which will patrol the entire BID … The team may either be armed, or unarmed, depending upon the needs of the District, as defined by the Security Committee and the Board of Directors.
That is, if in August 2017 it seemed so freaking urgent to eliminate or reduce armed security guards starting in 2019, they could have actually voted right then and there to recommend such a course of action to the Board. The fact that they did not is undoubtedly yet another symptom of Kerry Morrison’s weird obsession with firearms. Or another symptom of something we’re not likely to understand. In any case, here’s a table showing the data that the above graph was made from. The years are hyperlinks to the public records from which the data was obtained. Most of these are Excel spreadsheets, though, in case that matters to you:
|2014||1,057 *Year MK.Org scrutiny began|
- And are.
- Which was more than $1.7 million, as you can see from their 2017 Annual Planning Report.
- In the most literal sense of the word.
- Both BIDs are currently undergoing the renewal process. They’re planning to merge into a single BID beginning in 2019. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to write much if anything on this, but this serious problem with the HPOA’s CPRA policy continues to interfere with my ability to obtain adequate documentation of anything from these people. I’m working on solving the problem but, like all such matters, it’s taking a really freaking long time. More news when I have it, not to mention, if all goes well, resumption of detailed coverage of these damned Hollywood BIDs.