Tag Archives: Chinatown BID

My Letter To The Los Angeles City Council Opposing The Renewal Of The Chinatown Business Improvement District — The Hearing Is In Eleven Days — On September 29, 2020 — Still Time To Get Your Comments In!

If you follow business improvement districts in Los Angeles you’ll already know that the Chinatown BID, run by the strange, violent, and unhinged George Yu, is one of the City’s worst. The BID is up for renewal this year, and the hearing is to be held on September 29, 2020. Such hearings are not regulated by the Brown Act, by the way, but by another code section entirely, which allows for unlimited public comment.

BIDs are established by a balloting process, but the City Council is not required to establish a BID even if balloting is successful. BID renewal has been mostly pro forma in Los Angeles, with the notable exception of the Venice Beach BID in 2016. Yu’s BID has less support than any BID in recent memory, and may in fact be vulnerable to City Council denial or extreme modification. Therefore I think public comment is essential. The renewal is in Council File 12-0489, and you can drop a comment there using the icon that says “NEW”.

And this morning I sent my own letter of opposition for the file to Gil Cedillo. Here’s a copy of my letter, mostly about Yu’s financially irresponsible defiance of the California Public Records Act and the harm it’s done to the civic life of our City. I also touch on Yu’s sadistic sense of humor regarding the electrocution of homeless residents of Chinatown. Read on for a transcription if you don’t prefer PDFs.
Continue reading My Letter To The Los Angeles City Council Opposing The Renewal Of The Chinatown Business Improvement District — The Hearing Is In Eleven Days — On September 29, 2020 — Still Time To Get Your Comments In!

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Chinatown BID Renewal Hearing Scheduled For September 29 At 10 AM — BID Renewal Hearings Are Regulated By Government Code §53753 Rather Than The Brown Act — The Main Difference Is That The City Is Not Allowed To Limit The Time For Public Comment At Such Hearings — The Law Explicitly Mandates That All Objections Must Be Heard — The City Ignored This In 2016 — And Thereby Messed Up The Venice Beach BID Establishment — It Is Also Essential For Anti-BID Property Owners To Return Ballots Opposing The BID — Because Of Quirks In The Law Unreturned Ballots Essentially Count As Yes Votes


For a little while it looked like George Yu had messed up the Chinatown BID renewal process and that there would be no BID for 2021. But Yu and Gil Cedillo, acting through his flunky Hugo Ortiz, maneuvering behind the scenes and off the record, managed to get the process back on track somehow and ballots have been issued announcing a hearing on September 29, 2020 to solemnize the renewal and allow the BID to continue operations in 2021.1

There are two essential things for activists to understand about this part of the process. First, anti-BID property owners MUST vote no and return their ballots. The BID will be established unless received votes against outweigh received votes in favor. Unreturned ballots essentially count as yes votes.2

The second thing is that BID renewal hearings are not regulated by the Brown Act. Instead they’re covered by Government Code §53753 The main difference is that, as Los Angeles activists know all too well, the Brown Act allows City Council to limit the total time for public comment but §53753(d) specifically forbids such a limitation:

At the time, date, and place stated in the notice mailed pursuant to subdivision (b), the agency shall conduct a public hearing upon the proposed assessment. At the public hearing, the agency shall consider all objections or protests, if any, to the proposed assessment. At the public hearing, any person shall be permitted to present written or oral testimony. The public hearing may be continued from time to time.

The City messed this up in 2016 when the Venice BID was being established. Herb Wesson, then president of the Council, cut off public comment and thus didn’t allow everyone to talk, as if it were an ordinary Brown Act hearing. The incomparable Shayla Myers of LAFLA wrote a demand letter to the City explaining the problem, and the City repealed the ordinance establishing the Venice BID and had to redo the entire process.

In any case, on September 29, when the Council is hearing objections or protests to the renewal of the Chinatown BID, they will have to hear all of them, every last one. Everybody gets to convey their feelings about the BID and about why it is a terrible idea to keep funding and empowering George Yu. And if there’s not time for everyone to talk on September 29, well, as the law says, “[t]he public hearing may be continued from time to time.” Here are a few things that might be worth mentioning, but there is so much more:
Continue reading Chinatown BID Renewal Hearing Scheduled For September 29 At 10 AM — BID Renewal Hearings Are Regulated By Government Code §53753 Rather Than The Brown Act — The Main Difference Is That The City Is Not Allowed To Limit The Time For Public Comment At Such Hearings — The Law Explicitly Mandates That All Objections Must Be Heard — The City Ignored This In 2016 — And Thereby Messed Up The Venice Beach BID Establishment — It Is Also Essential For Anti-BID Property Owners To Return Ballots Opposing The BID — Because Of Quirks In The Law Unreturned Ballots Essentially Count As Yes Votes

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Chinatown Business Improvement District Chief George Yu Calls Self-Electrocution Of Homeless People “Natural Selection” — Yu Told LAPD Officer Stephen Nichols Not To Repair Dangerously Altered Streetlight Wiring — So That More Homeless People Would Die When They Charged Their Phones — Because “that will be the only way that the City will take care of business” — And LAPD Officer Stephen Nichols’s Response To Yu’s Homicidal Mania? — And I Quote — “☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺”

Homeless people need cell phones to survive, and charging them is a perennial problem. Although the City of Los Angeles could very, very easily put electrical outlets on streetlights they refuse to do so, which leads to the dangerous but necessary practice of makeshift rewiring by unhoused people. As revealed by this newly obtained email conversation, in March 2019 this was happening regularly in Chinatown.

LAPD Officer Stephen Nichols told George Yu, the unhinged megalomaniac leader of the reprehensible Chinatown Business Improvement District, that if Yu gave him a list of affected lights he would personally deal with the unauthorized wiring. But Yu told him not to do that. Yu cited a recent electrocution death in Westlake and told Nichols:

“Lets let BSL do their work. I would prefer natural selection like the Westlake incident to happen as that will be the only way that the City will take care of business.”

When Nichols finally got Yu’s point, which took a surprising amount of discussion, he thought it was hilarious. Nichols’s entire response: “☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺” Here we see the thoroughly disgusting spectacle of an LAPD officer, sworn to protect and to serve, sharing a laugh with a notorious psychopath over the tactical political utility of mass electrocutions of homeless people.
Continue reading Chinatown Business Improvement District Chief George Yu Calls Self-Electrocution Of Homeless People “Natural Selection” — Yu Told LAPD Officer Stephen Nichols Not To Repair Dangerously Altered Streetlight Wiring — So That More Homeless People Would Die When They Charged Their Phones — Because “that will be the only way that the City will take care of business” — And LAPD Officer Stephen Nichols’s Response To Yu’s Homicidal Mania? — And I Quote — “☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺”

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It Appears That The Chinatown Business Improvement District Has Failed To Gain Sufficient Support For Its Scheduled 2021 Renewal And Will Cease All Operations On December 31, 2020

I would like to thank volunteers from Chinatown Community for Equitable Development for calling my attention to the monumental significance of these records.

Based on a set of records I recently obtained from the Los Angeles City Clerk’s office, it appears that the Chinatown Business Improvement District has failed to gain sufficient support for its scheduled 2021 renewal and will cease to exist on December 31, 2020. On June 8, 2020 the Clerk sent a letter to the BID’s executive director, the famously unhinged George Yu, informing him of the pending expiration:

June 8, 2020
George Yu, President
Los Angeles Chinatown Business Council, Inc.
727 North Broadway, Suite 208
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Dear Mr. Yu:

The Greater Chinatown Business Improvement District (Chinatown BID) will expire on December 31, 2020 and must cease all BID operations after that date. The Office of the City Clerk is requesting a letter indicating the intention of the BID to renew or expire. If it is the BID’s intention to expire and not renew, this Office will require the following:

1. A letter from the Board President indicating intent to allow the BID to expire.

2. An inventory of all assets currently held by the Chinatown BID.

3. A timeline for winding down the Chinatown BID and an estimate of the associated costs.

Additionally, in accordance with Section 10 of Contract No. C-118431 between the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Chinatown Business Council, Incorporated, all remaining revenues of the District, after all outstanding debts have been paid, derived from the levy of assessments, or derived from the sale of assets acquired with the revenues, shall be refunded to property owners in the manner described in Division 6, Chapter 9, Section 6.619 of the Los Angeles Administrative Code.

If you have any questions, please contact Eugene Van Cise of my staff at (213) 675-2960.

Sincerely,

Patrice Y. Lattimore, Chief
Business Improvement District Division
Office of the City Clerk
PYL:CG:RKS:ev

c: Honorable Gilbert Cedillo, Councilmember, District 1

Continue reading It Appears That The Chinatown Business Improvement District Has Failed To Gain Sufficient Support For Its Scheduled 2021 Renewal And Will Cease All Operations On December 31, 2020

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George Yu Fails To Appear At His Last And Final Contempt Hearing — Judge Mitchell Beckloff Orders Yu Seized — And Detained — And Chained — And Hauled Bodily Into Court — To Explain In Person Why He Has Been Ignoring The Judge’s Order To Hand Over The Damn Records — And Also He’s Ordered To Pay Our Lawyers An Additional $21K In Legal Fees — Looks To Me Like Now He’s Pushed His Luck Too Far — I Am Guessing That Gil Cedillo Will Have To Withdraw His Support At Some Point — Beginning To Look Very Much Like Yu’s Days Are Numbered


UPDATE: Today, February 7, 2020 Judge Beckloff changed his mind about the bench warrant for technical reasons that I don’t understand. Not sure what’s going to happen next and even though it remains quite likely that George Yu will be hauled off in chains in the near future, it won’t be because of the warrant that was issued on Wednesday. Here’s a copy of today’s order.

In 2018 Katherine McNenny and I sued the Chinatown Business Improvement District over their failure to comply with the California Public Records Act. And for the last 18 months neither BID director George Yu nor anyone else from the BID has appeared in court at all. In due course they lost, Judge Mitchell Beckloff issued an order to them to hand over the records, and they ignored that as well. Late last year we moved to have Yu held in contempt for his failure to obey the order, and the judge issued an order for Yu’s arrest and suspended it pending a hearing at which he ordered Yu to appear in person and explain why he shouldn’t be held in contempt.

That hearing was held this morning. Perhaps predictably, Yu didn’t show up today either, and the judge released the arrest warrant.1 Apparently this isn’t the kind of warrant where the cops go out and hunt down the offender, but if he’s pulled over or a cop has some other reason to enter his name into a computer, this will come up and he’ll be arrested and hauled before the judge. The Chinatown BID is in CD1, Gil Cedillo’s little kingdom, and as do all BIDdies with their Councilmembers, Yu has hitherto enjoyed Cedillo’s unconditional love. But having the guy arrested and hauled by force before a judge to explain why he refuses to obey the law may, just may, not saying for sure, erode that affection, that tolerance, just a bit. We can hope!
Continue reading George Yu Fails To Appear At His Last And Final Contempt Hearing — Judge Mitchell Beckloff Orders Yu Seized — And Detained — And Chained — And Hauled Bodily Into Court — To Explain In Person Why He Has Been Ignoring The Judge’s Order To Hand Over The Damn Records — And Also He’s Ordered To Pay Our Lawyers An Additional $21K In Legal Fees — Looks To Me Like Now He’s Pushed His Luck Too Far — I Am Guessing That Gil Cedillo Will Have To Withdraw His Support At Some Point — Beginning To Look Very Much Like Yu’s Days Are Numbered

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Judge Mitchell Beckloff Orders George Yu And The Other Directors Of The Chinatown BID To Appear Before Him And Explain Why They Should Not Be Held In Contempt Of Court For Continuing To Ignore His Order To Hand Over The Damn Public Records — They’ve Ignored Every Part Of This Lawsuit So Far — But If They Ignore This Part They May Be Forced To Pay Even More Money — And Be Arrested — And Go To Jail For Up To Five Days — The Hearing Is Set For December 27 At 9:30 AM

Here’s a summary of where we are in our public records suit against the Chinatown Business Improvement District. We filed it in August 2018 because the BID ignored our requests for records. The BID never participated at all and in July 2019 we prevailed over them and Judge Mitchell Beckloff subsequently ordered the BID to produce the records.

They continued to ignore the whole situation so last week our attorneys filed a motion asking the judge to hold them in contempt of court for refusing to comply with his order. They didn’t show up for the hearing on that either, which was on Friday morning, so the judge ordered them to show up on December 27, 2019 at 9:30 AM1 and explain themselves. The charge is contempt of court, which is defined in the California Code of Civil Procedure at §1209 to include “Disobedience of any lawful judgment, order, or process of the court.”

And the same Code, now at §1218, allows the judge to punish the contempt with fines of up to $1,000 and up to five days of jail time. Also the judge is allowed by §1212 to have people arrested and brought before the court to answer for contempt charges. So if the BID doesn’t show up for this proceeding things might get really, really interesting! Read on for a transcription of the judge’s order.
Continue reading Judge Mitchell Beckloff Orders George Yu And The Other Directors Of The Chinatown BID To Appear Before Him And Explain Why They Should Not Be Held In Contempt Of Court For Continuing To Ignore His Order To Hand Over The Damn Public Records — They’ve Ignored Every Part Of This Lawsuit So Far — But If They Ignore This Part They May Be Forced To Pay Even More Money — And Be Arrested — And Go To Jail For Up To Five Days — The Hearing Is Set For December 27 At 9:30 AM

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Fee Motion Filed In Public Records Act Suit Against The Chinatown Business Improvement District — Asks For More Than $51K In Costs And Fees — George Yu And The Rest Of The BIDdies Have Hitherto Failed To Participate At All — And Now It Is Time For Them To Pay For Their Crimes

In August 2018 Katherine McNenny, with the able assistance of Abenicio Cisneros and Anna von Herrmann, filed a lawsuit against the Chinatown Business Improvement District because they had ignored our various requests for public records concerning such clearly weighty matters as their involvement in the appalling zillionaire conspiracy against the Skid Row Neighborhood Council. They continued to ignore the requests, and in fact they ignored the lawsuit altogether.

And in July 2019 we prevailed over them and the judge, Mitchell Beckloff, subsequently issued an order requiring that they produce the damn records, which they have also ignored. It is well known that the California Public Records Act requires government agencies to pay legal fees to prevailing requesters, which requires a motion to be filed with the court asking to be paid.

Our attorneys filed just such a motion last week, asking for more than $51,000 from George Yu’s BID.1 I don’t know if the BID is going to ignore this or not, but I can’t imagine we’re not going to get it or something close to it. The hearing is scheduled for February 5, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. in Beckloff’s courtroom, Department 86 in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. Get a copy of the motion here and stay tuned for details!
Continue reading Fee Motion Filed In Public Records Act Suit Against The Chinatown Business Improvement District — Asks For More Than $51K In Costs And Fees — George Yu And The Rest Of The BIDdies Have Hitherto Failed To Participate At All — And Now It Is Time For Them To Pay For Their Crimes

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Judge Beckloff Signs Judgment Granting Writ Of Mandate In Our California Public Records Act Petition Against The Chinatown BID — This Puts His Earlier Order Into Force And Gives The BID 30 Days-Ish To Produce The Damn Records — But I’m Guessing They Will Ignore This Too — So We Will See What Happens!

The latest development in the ongoing saga of Katherine McNenny’s and my California Public Records Act suit against the Chinatown Business Improvement District is that the judge signed a judgment granting our petition for a writ of mandate.1 You can get a copy here on Archive.Org.2 This gives the BID 30 days to comply, and we shall certainly see what happens.

Note that the signing of this judgment is not unexpected news, as we prevailed in court last month, but without this step, putting last month’s order into force, there’s no way to compel the BID to comply, which it seems pretty clearly is going to be necessary since they have shown no signs of being willing to comply in the absence of compulsion.

Without the excellent and relentless work of our lawyers, Abenicio Cisneros and Anna von Herrmann, by the way, none of this would have happened. Cisneros has also blogged about the victory from the lawyerly point of view, absolutely worth reading. Stay tuned for further developments.
Continue reading Judge Beckloff Signs Judgment Granting Writ Of Mandate In Our California Public Records Act Petition Against The Chinatown BID — This Puts His Earlier Order Into Force And Gives The BID 30 Days-Ish To Produce The Damn Records — But I’m Guessing They Will Ignore This Too — So We Will See What Happens!

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Tia Strozier Continues To Act As George Yu’s Catspaw To Further His Vendetta Against Theo Henderson — Amplifying George Yu’s Weirdo Unsupported Defamatory Insinuations — Apparently Setting Henderson Up To Be Killed By Police — Just Because Yu Hates The Guy — Oh And Also Because Gil Cedillo Wanted To Have An Event In Alpine Rec Center — And Someone At CD1 — Probably Ricardo Flores — Perceived Henderson’s Presence As An Impediment — Also LAPD Senior Lead Officer Elizabeth Ortega Expresses Her Dismay At Being Unable To Arrest Henderson Just For Existing — “Unfortunately” — Says Ortega — “unless he commits a crime he is allowed to be at the park during park hours”

Here’s the latest episode in the continuing story of the unholy obsession of psychopathic rageball George Yu, commander in chief of the Krazy Kriminal Konspiracy known as the Chinatown Business Improvement District, Los Angeles neighborhood prosecutor Tia Strozier, and LAPD senior lead officer Elizabeth Ortega, with the very existence of Chinatown resident Theo Henderson. You can read a report on this through May 2019 here.

The short version is that at Yu’s behest, Strozier and Ortega, with the cooperation of other City officials from CD1 and Rec and Parks have been trying unsuccessfully for months to arrest Henderson or at least find a way to ban him from Alpine Recreation Center. They have subjected him to police hyperscrutiny in the hope of finding actionable violations and aggressively try to impose “services” on him as a way to forcibly relocate him. Today’s post will bring the story up through July.1

One of the favored tactics George Yu and his minions at the City of Los Angeles2 use against the homeless people they’re targeting is involuntary mental health commitments. So it’s no surprise to see Ortega reassuring Yu via email on June 3, 2019 that she’s arranged for the County Department of Mental Health to “speak to Theo” What’s slightly surprising, though, is to see the putatively professional Ortega telling ostensibly private citizen Yu what seems like private medical information about Henderson. This ethical lapse certainly highlights the fact that the point of the intervention Ortega has arranged has little to do with Henderson’s well-being and lots to do with Yu’s vendetta.

Not that it needs to be highlighted. The fact that anyone with any training whatsoever, or even with any common sense, could sincerely think that Theo Henderson has any mental health problems at all, is completely implausible. It’s ridiculous. There is no legitimate reason for any competent person to call DMH about Henderson, who is among the sanest people I know. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him, and want to judge for yourself3 you can watch him speaking some truth to Yu at a recent BID meeting.

On June 27, 2019 Henderson and other homeless rights activists held a press conference at City Hall to promote the Services Not Sweeps Coalition, which stoked Yu’s always-smoldering rage at Henderson into an unhinged thermonuclear frenzy. On June 28 Yu sent an email to Ortega and Strozier, the subject line of which read “Theo’s Press Conference”, accusing Henderson of being a pedophile based on the exceedingly thin evidence of some pictures Henderson had taken of children at Alpine Rec Center and posted on Instagram.
Continue reading Tia Strozier Continues To Act As George Yu’s Catspaw To Further His Vendetta Against Theo Henderson — Amplifying George Yu’s Weirdo Unsupported Defamatory Insinuations — Apparently Setting Henderson Up To Be Killed By Police — Just Because Yu Hates The Guy — Oh And Also Because Gil Cedillo Wanted To Have An Event In Alpine Rec Center — And Someone At CD1 — Probably Ricardo Flores — Perceived Henderson’s Presence As An Impediment — Also LAPD Senior Lead Officer Elizabeth Ortega Expresses Her Dismay At Being Unable To Arrest Henderson Just For Existing — “Unfortunately” — Says Ortega — “unless he commits a crime he is allowed to be at the park during park hours”

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Apocalyptic Rage Ranter George Yu’s Casually Unhinged Racist Take On Crime In Chinatown — “I Assure You None Of The Suspects Were Chinese” — And His Co-Freaking-Conspirator — Neighborhood Prosecutor Tia Strozier — Not Only Helps George Yu Attack Theo Henderson — But Also Gives Him Legal Advice On How To Bust Street Vendors — Contrary To Mike Feuers Explicit Assertion That “Neighborhood Prosecutors cannot provide legal advice to the public” — It May Be Chinatown But No One Is Forgetting It, Jake

It’s been a while since I wrote about psychopathic rageball George Yu, the criminal boss of the Klown Kar Krew Konspiracy known as the Chinatown Business Improvement District. Last we heard about the guy he was incurring significant liability for his BID by failing to show up at his damn trial, and screaming at a bunch of people at a meeting funded on his behalf by the City of Los Angeles, and conspiring with Deputy City Attorney Tia Strozier, who really ought to be ashamed of herself but is not, against Chinatown resident Theo Henderson.

But Jake, even though it is Chinatown, we aren’t about to forget it. So I thought I’d spend a little of this precious weekend covering a couple interesting items from this set of Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Prosecutor Tia Strozier’s emails about Chinatown. One is from George Yu to some guy named Peter about crime in Chinatown. The sky is falling, the apocalypse is upon us, “the City outside Los Angeles is functionally and irreversibly broken” and crime in Chinatown is, according to Yu, who is evidently living in his own worst nightmare, higher than crime across the street in El Pueblo.

But, says this casually unhinged racist, funded by the City of Los angeles to the tune of more than $1.3 million per year in BID assessments,1 “I assure you none of the suspects were Chinese or have ever lived in our community.” Great analysis, George Yu! You’re worth every damn penny of that public tax money the City hands over to you every year to run your weirdo little kingdom out there in North Central Yu-ville!
Continue reading Apocalyptic Rage Ranter George Yu’s Casually Unhinged Racist Take On Crime In Chinatown — “I Assure You None Of The Suspects Were Chinese” — And His Co-Freaking-Conspirator — Neighborhood Prosecutor Tia Strozier — Not Only Helps George Yu Attack Theo Henderson — But Also Gives Him Legal Advice On How To Bust Street Vendors — Contrary To Mike Feuers Explicit Assertion That “Neighborhood Prosecutors cannot provide legal advice to the public” — It May Be Chinatown But No One Is Forgetting It, Jake

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