I started this blog seven years ago intending to expose the wickedness of business improvement districts in Los Angeles using three powerful weapons: mockery, shaming, and the California Public Records Act. After all this time I’ve learned far more than I expected to about how the CPRA works, and far, far more than any sane person ought to know about LA BIDs. But by now I’ve said what I have to say on the topic, not just about the BIDs and the City that creates them but also about the effectiveness of records-based journalism as a strategy for activists. So I’m not going to write this blog any longer. My work here is done.
But I’m not in the least done with records-based activism! I’m planning to work with the Los Angeles Sunshine Coalition on lawsuits, legislation, and, most importantly, teaching other activists about the CPRA in the service of building a happy, healthy, human City which works for all Angelenos. To this end please get in touch if you or your org needs help or advice or sympathy concerning the CPRA. I’m happy to give formal presentations, answer questions, consult, whatever helps.
I’m also planning to write a couple of books over the next twelve months. One on the CPRA and how to use it in Los Angeles, the other on business improvement districts in Los Angeles focusing on why and how to eliminate them. Meanwhile, of course, I’ll leave the blog up as a resource. Let’s see what happens next!
After Monday’s epic freakout by Studio City BID board member Matthew Dunn, in which he ended up storming out of his own meeting because he hates America, freedom, mom, apple pie, and the California Constitution, I was so moved that just merely writing this mocking post about the guy wasn’t enough to express my feelings. Hence I designed an entirely new coffee mug, which, as always, you can buy on the MK.Org CafePress store by clicking right here! It’s a perfect gift for commemorating birthdays, bat mitzvahs, retirements, involuntary commitments, every significant family occasion!
And while you’re at the store you should check out this other brand new mug! This one features Gil Cedillo and plays on his propensity for being all things to all people, talking up immigrant rights and radical Latino politics on the one hand while selling off the neighborhoods in his council district to developers who then price the present inhabitants right out of there. The cartoon appears at the head of this post!
This is just a short note to announce various random records that have come into my possession over the last few days. First of all, due to the brilliant work of an intrepid CPRA warrior,1 at last we have access to the complete set of ballots used in the Venice Beach BID formation process. You can get a PDF spool of all of these right here on Archive.Org.2 It’s interesting to see that the City didn’t redact these ballots at all, not even the signatures. Compare these with the petitions, which they released in 2016.
Also today I’m announcing NBID reports from 2013 on, obtained by a brave citizen of Los Angeles and subsequently made available to me. We’ve seen some of this material before, but only through 2016. There is a ton of interesting material here, and I’ll be writing on it from time to time in the future. Meanwhile, here’s a sample of what these Clerk BIDdies were up to during the week of May 29, 2018:
Processed Venice Beach refund affidavits; Performed ownership and mailing address updates for the three upcoming PBID renewal mail outs of Melrose, BLQ-Pico and Historic Core; Researched and processed returned mail ballots for the 3 PBID renewals currently out to ballot of Arts District, Fashion District and Hollywood Entertainment District and some for the finalized Tarzana PBID election that were recently returned; Compiled BID Application wish list for the meeting with Systems.
And finally, you will recall that after the November 2016 hearing at which the Venice Beach BID was established Mike Bonin promised the world to BID opponents, or at least this:
As I said when I met with you folks recently, I am happy to help those folks get their properties rezoned as residential properties. And I’m happy to meet with those folks and would even be willing to initiate a zone change from my end to make it a little less expensive and more helpful.
It’s been almost two years now, and Mike Bonin has broken his promise. No one in Venice is getting rezoned. But it’s not because Mike Bonin can’t rezone. Just take a look at this motion introduced today in Council by Mike Bonin. In it he directs City staff to rezone some neighborhood in the Palisades because of some zillionaire hillside house voodoo.
This is just the briefest of notes to announce that, thanks to a faithful friend of this blog, I’m able to make available a complete recording of the April 13, 2018 meeting of the Board of Directors of the Venice Beach Business Improvement District. I will watch this 90 minute monstrosity this weekend and report back on highlights, but I wanted to provide links as soon as possible. It’s available both on YouTube and also on Archive.Org.
This is just a short note to announce that I recently received a ton of records from Suzanne Holley of the Downtown Center BID. These are ostensibly all non-exempt emails between the Central City Association of Los Angeles and DCBID staffers from July 1, 2016 through January 31, 2018. You can get most of them here on Archive.Org. That set includes a bunch of PDFs I exported as well as an MBOX file that will give you access to the attachments.1