There seem to be two distinct ways that BIDs get started in Los Angeles. One is that a bunch of property owners want to start one, they talk to their council rep or the City Clerk, hire a consultant, and go through the process we’ve all come to know and love. But it seems that sometimes the City takes the initiative, they hire their own consultant, and as part of their duties, the consultant puts together a proponent group.
I’ve written before on how the City of Los Angeles arranges for itself to be lobbied by BIDs for various reasons. Now it appears that even this usual arrangement wasn’t enough for Mike Bonin and Debbie Dyner Harris at CD11 with respect to the Venice Beach BID. In particular, during the formation process, in December 2015, Dyner Harris emailed Miranda Paster asking if she could have a voting seat on the BID Board of Directors:
Hi Miranda, how are you? I hope all is well. I am checking on something we had discussed a while ago, but I can’t find in my notes. I wanted to confirm whether or not the City, as 1/3 paying member of the BID,1 is allowed to be a voting member on the BID board.
Miranda Paster replied a few days later, stating:
We opt out of sitting on the Board because it may appear to be a conflict of interest. We can sign the petition for a BID and we cast a ballot for the Prop 218 balloting. However, we do not sit on the boards and vote.
Watch and listen here1 to an interminable discussion at last Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Directors of the Central Hollywood Coalition2 about how to pay the increasing cost of the armed BID Patrol while, at the same time, maintaining or expanding dedicated “homeless outreach” services, also provided by Andrews International. In particular, staff is asking the board to approve a 5% increase in the A/I budget for next year to cover salary increases and so on.
Here are some numbers. A/I pays its BID Patrol officers $31.50 an hour.3 Almost certainly the BID is paying A/I significantly more than that. Also note that base pay for A/I unarmed officers is $13 per hour. In other words, armed officers cost about 2.5 times as much as unarmed officers. If A/I’s markup to the BID is a percentage of its HR costs then this ratio will hold constant regardless of what the BID is actually paying.4 Now, most BIDs in the City of Los Angeles do not have armed security. In fact, as far as I can tell, the two HPOA BIDs run by Kerry Morrison are the only BIDs that do.5 We have written before about Kerry Morrison’s disturbing and utterly disproportionate love of guns, and that’s probably enough to explain her insistence on armed security despite the high cost.6 And the cost is very high. According to the Sunset & Vine BID’s 2015 independent audit, the BID paid $805,608 for security out of total annual expenditures of $1,542,735.7
A couple weeks ago we wrote about a Zoning Administrator hearing being held for the purpose of revoking the Rusty Mullet’s conditional use permit. Well, the hearing was held on July 28, 2016. As far as we know a determination has not yet been made, but we recently obtained more than five hours of audio from the hearing. You can listen to part I and also part II here. It’s not easy to get through the whole damned thing, which is why you’re lucky to have us! We’ve listened to the whole thing and made clips of some interesting bits. Note that as long as we were haunting City Hall to get this material we also obtained audio from the CUP revocation hearings for the Cosmo Nightclub and the Cashmere, and you can find both of those on this Archive.org page.
Now, long-time readers of this blog will recall that in March 2015 we broke the story that Fabio Conti, Carol Massie, Kerry Morrison, Marty Shelton, and pretty much everyone on the Board of Directors of the Sunset & Vine BID except for Chase Gordon are a bunch of racists who want to shut down every bar on Hollywood Boulevard because they don’t like the skin color of the patrons. So imagine our pleasure at learning that Mike Ayaz, the Rusty Mullet’s lawyer, actually showed our video at the hearing! This was part of the evidence for his position, with which we concur, that the restaurant appears on a hit list of bars being targeted for racist reasons by the BID, the LAPD, and the City Government. You can hear the whole clip here, where he refers to Fabio’s speech as “disturbing video which I would like to play of a quasi-governmental agency that basically…I think I’ll let the video speak for itself.” And speak for itself it does:
Be sure to catch the audience reaction at the end. It doesn’t make anyone sane happy to hear Fabio Conti channeling Marty Shelton claiming that “the Lindsey Lohans of the world are not hanging out at the Rusty Mullet” with the regulars, who are “decidedly minority, brown and black, and my guess, from a lower economic strata.” These dimwits on the BID are clearly going to regret the day they neglected to listen to their one and only sane Board Member, Chase Gordon, who responded to this bullshit in March 2015 by saying that he didn’t “think that we should be, especially public-facing, going out with the distinction of ‘we don’t want lower economic statuses coming and visiting Hollywood.” Anyway, who can say what will happen, but we here at MK.org are inordinately proud on this beautiful Sunday morning that the citizen journalism of our intrepid correspondent is paying off in this big way. This story is a sleeper, but when it finally makes the papers, it’s going to be huge.
Here’s the back-story. In 2012, a bunch of local Peruvian-Americans in CD13 got a council file started in an attempt to get Vine Street between Melrose and Sunset designated “Peru Village.” This makes some sense because, e.g., there are about five Peruvian restaurants along there, including Mario’s Seafood, which has some of the most astonishing fried chicken in the United States, and Los Balcones, both of which are numbered among the finest restaurants of any variety in our City. So they sent a bunch of really cute kids around to knock on doors and they ended up collecting over 500 signatures from people in the neighborhood.1 If you’re not familiar with Los Angeles politics, it’s worth noting that actual city council elections can easily be decided by 500 votes. For mere neighborhood renaming this is a landslide.
But then in February 2013, jittery little psychopath and Hollywood McDonald’s Queen Carol Massie got wind of the plan and popped off this little slab of characteristically jittery psychopathy, in which she swizzlingly pours forth the toxic product of her unchecked anorectic id thusly, proving that she not only hates America and also hates dark-skinned Hollywood club patrons, but that she also has something against Peruvians:
I am a founding member of the Sunset/Vine Business Improvement District which includes this “Peru Village” area. Not only have I never heard of this petition but we, as business owners, work very hard to make Sunset Boulevard and the famous Sunset & Vine corner a place that people from all over the world2 view as an integral part of Hollywood. Peru Village would include the Cinerama Dome,3 a Hollywood icon, among others, which seems amazingly inappropriate.
This is bad enough, that Garcetti solicits the intimate opinions of these delusional BIDdies, who not only just make stuff up about the homeless but whose ultimate homeless policy is terrorism. It’s bad enough, as we said, but the reasons are even worse:
Mayor Garcetti is very committed to working with CCA and the other BIDS to develop homelessness policies and practices that address homelessness without unintentional harm to our business community. In the long run, we need businesses to provide pathways out of poverty through self-sustaining wages and pride in individual ability and skills.
Yesterday the gracious-seemingly-in-spite-of-herself Kerry Morrison sent me a bunch of documents pertaining to the months-long struggle between the HPOA and the Franchise Tax Board over the tax-exempt status of the Central Hollywood Coalition, the shell corporation which exists, seemingly, mostly to hire the HPOA to manage the Sunset & Vine BID. And there are two salient points. First, everything is finally all settled and the CHC is good to go on wreaking havoc in its little corner of Hollywood without having to pay any of those pesky taxes. Second, as Kerry informed me in the email missive that accompanied the documents, “Please also note this that was not an audit – even though I mistakenly used this label at the board meeting where you were present.”