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.
Patrice Y. Lattimore, Chief
Business Improvement District Division
Office of the City Clerk
c: Honorable Gilbert Cedillo, Councilmember, District 1
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.
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.
I recently learned how to use the California Public Records Act to learn the names of LAPD officers who respond to a call for service. This information is very useful to me, so probably it will be useful to others also. I didn’t previously know how to do it, and I wasn’t even sure it could be done. But it can! Which is important! And hence this post explaining how to do it! To get started you will need to know the date, time, and location of the call.1 That’s all that’s necessary.
In order to keep the explanation grounded I’m going to write about a concrete real-life example in parallel with the discussion of the general techniques. So imagine you were at Alpine Recreation Center in Chinatown on August 5, 2019 at about 10 p.m. and you saw a police car arrive and the officers talk to someone. We’re going to use the CPRA to learn who those officers were and various other facts about the call.
The first thing you have to do is find the reporting district that the location is in. The LAPD has the whole City divided up into these zones and most of their records are organized by them rather than by other more familiar systems. A little Googlism reveals that the address of the park is 817 Yale St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. The Los Angeles Times has a lovely map of the City organized according to LAPD stuff.2
It might be possible to search in that map, I don’t know, but you can also click down into it until you get to the location in question. Maybe it will take a visit to Google Maps to learn where the place is. And eventually you will learn that Alpine Rec Center is in Reporting District 111. Once you know the reporting district it’s time to make the CPRA request.
George Yu, executive director for life of the Chinatown Business Improvement District, is well-known for his defiance of the law in BID-related matters. For instance, he has utterly refused to participate in a lawsuit brought against the BID to enforce the California Public Records Act.1 And he cannot keep his mouth shut about his outlaw proclivities, like for instance last year at a BID board meeting he announced that he had broken the law by spending BID money on harassing homeless human beings outside the boundaries of the BID.2
So, you know, I went to today’s meeting expecting more of the usual George Yu crapola. But what actually happened was far, far more important than the stuff on the agenda. During the section of the meeting on public safety, long-time Chinatown residents Zen Sekizawa and Mario Correa had a few things to say to Yu and to the public at large about multiple attacks on them by George Yu and, at his direction and with his support, the BID’s off-the-chain security forces. I filmed the whole meeting, of course, and you can download a copy here from Archive.Org or watch it here on YouTube. The chaos starts at 23:19
It’s been a fluff piece about how great this gentleman is, however, what I have understood is that he has an antipathy against unhoused people. He calls them bums. He stalks. He surveils. He does everything in his power to make it uncomfortable. I am the gentleman that was on that quality of life issue the previous meeting. So I decided to come and have my side of the story because obviously this [unintelligible] has been posted everywhere. I have heard several different crazy stories. If I had not known it was about me I would be understandably afraid. So let us not excuse his behavior and try to de-escalate or invalidate these people’s concerns. These are legitimate. These are homeowners. These are community members. I have been a community member. I have lived over here over ten years before I became unhoused. So I have as much of a right as anybody else in here. He doesn’t even live here. He lives way out in some gated community. So this is the issue that community members that sit here and listen to him and hang on to his every word need to understand. We do not want him or his business improvement district employees here. He is a terrorist to people that are working class, an elitist, and an outright bully. And it is unacceptable. I am tired of it, and I want the community to understand and to do something about it.
George Yu did not like what he heard. Not. At. All. George Yu argued, accused, tried to derail, and when he could not shut down the flow of truth, adjourned the meeting unexpectedly and rose out of his chair in anger and walked aggressively toward Theo Henderson, another member of the public giving comment. This is a turning point in the history of this BID, maybe of all BIDs in Los Angeles. George Yu has long been unhinged, but now he’s decompensating.
So yesterday I went all over the damn City fetching public records from various agencies and told the story in this Twitter thread. And one of my stops was at the City Attorney’s office in City Hall East where I was menaced by a cop and subjected to extensive elevator therapy and then no one knew where the records were so I had to leave and then come back and finally I got them! And now you can get them too, right here on Archive.Org!
What I asked for here were emails to and from Tia Strozier, who is a newly appointed neighborhood prosecutor in Downtown Los Angeles. In that role, despite the mendacious utopian rhetoric of her lying boss Mike Feuer, she mostly works as an abject minion to business improvement districts and other zillionaire-facing organizations, her main job being to direct the full majesty of the law against whoever the zillionares desire, mostly homeless human beings who happen to live within the effective range of the considerable legal weaponry at her disposal.
One such person is Theo Henderson, a resident of Chinatown who, for reasons best known to the imaginary psychiatrist of unhinged racist1 psychopathic rageball and Chinatown BID kingpin George Yu, found himself squarely in the crosshairs of Yu’s rage. So much so, in fact, that activist residents of Chinatown rallied around Henderson, among other things, starting a Facebook group to discuss his plight.
And the story that these newly-obtained emails tell about George Yu, Tia Strozier, and the toxic misuse of municipal power, is not a pretty story. It shows Strozier marshalling her resources, convening meetings with Yu, other BIDdies, LAPD officer Elizabeth Ortega and other cops, City officials from Recreation and Parks, Ricardo Flores from CD1 representative Gil Cedillo‘s office, and so on, to discuss how to persecute Henderson.
You might recall that Ilomin, completely backstopped by ought-to-know-better Deputy City Attorney Strefan Fauble, had claimed that every single one of these emails was exempt due to that putative deliberative process nonsense that the City of Los Angeles loves so well. And I won’t belabor the details, but if you read through the yield, you’ll see that this exemption claim was entirely unfounded, indefensible, just utter nonsense. For instance, a nontrivial number of these emails are widely published announcements that there will be mobile showers available on various dates at Lincoln Park which, whatever the hell they may be, aren’t exempt from production under any theory acceptable to even the marginally sane.
And there’s some other reasonably interesting material in there, about some of which I might write at some point. But there is also one exceedingly important record, which is this February 2019 email conversation between Cedillo’s Deputy District Director Jose Rodriguez and a long list of LAPD officers, LAHSA staffers, and others, scheduling a sweep of homeless encampments along Llewellyn Street in Chinatown for the explicitly stated reason that they were impeding construction on a huge housing development owned by the Trammell Crow Company, done at the request of Trammell Crow’s senior vice president Alex Valente.
Now, you might recall an instance where an encampment was swept for no better reason than that Eric Garcetti was making a political appearance in the area later. This incident was reported in the Los Angeles Times and evoked the following quasi-denial from Garcetti’s spokesman Alex Comisar, who said it did “not reflect the mayor’s approach to interacting with Angelenos experiencing homelessness.” And this same tired implausible story of utter compassion is told by everyone involved with homelessness no matter how messed up their motives actually are. Our City officials, just ask them, do not use the vast municipal power entrusted to them to fuck up the lives of the unhoused for petty stupid venal purposes.
I’m sure you read about my big adventure yesterday when I went up north to film the Chinatown BID’s meeting and criminal ringleader George Yu got so salty that I wouldn’t tell him who I was that he flipped out to an extraordinary degree, screamed at me and then banned me for life from his weirdo fiefdom, the Far East Plaza.
But that’s not all that happened at the meeting. It turns out that George Yu is not merely a psychopathic rageball but he also runs his meetings like some kind of free association fest, like he’s on the couch and the audience is his analyst. And the most revealing, peculiar, unbelievable stuff came pouring forth from George Yu, self-betrayal oozing from his every pore, as they say.
So for instance, he admitted that he sent his BID crew to clean up something to do with homeless people at Sunset and Beaudry which, it seems, is not in his BID. Watch and listen here: You’ll see background photos on the screen. We worked with [unintelligible]. Yes, it’s at Sunset and Beaudry. No, it’s technically not Chinatown. But if those… If the [unintelligible] people there are staying at Sunset and Beaudry and then venture into Chinatown it’s a whole nother story. Our residents walk past this site daily. We couldn’t stand it. We cleaned it up.
Well, it’s always interesting to visit a new BID for the first time, and today’s journey out to Chinatown was certainly no exception. The BID meets in the Far East Plaza upstairs1 so up I went. They tried to get me to sign in, but I just ignored them because that’s illegal, innit?2 I did record the meeting, and you can watch the whole thing if you want here on YouTube and also here on Archive.Org if Google gives you the willies.3
Now, a lot of other interesting stuff happened at this meeting, but I’m going to have to put off writing about it, because the very most interesting thing that happened today happened right after the meeting. As you’re probably aware, Howlin’ Rays does not actually define the the Far East Plaza, which also has some nice restaurants that are NOT overrun by zombie hipster hordes. And since the BID meeting was right at lunch time I thought I’d eat a banh mi and some pho before hopping the good old 45 southbound back to reality.
But after I ordered and before most of my food came,5 a security guard came busting into the restaurant and told me that the Far East Plaza was private property and that the owner didn’t want me there any more and that I would have to leave. Did I mention I recorded him too? Watch it here on YouTube or here on Archive.Org.6