Recall that a BID is a geographical area within which commercial property owners2 pay extra taxes3 to fund various services. The formal BID creation process begins with a group of property owners4 petitioning the City to allow a BID to be formed. It’s required by the Property and Business Improvement District Act of 1994, which is the authority under which BIDs are created and administered in California, that these petitions represent property owners “who will pay more than 50 percent of the assessments proposed to be levied”5
According to the report placed in the Council File by the City Clerk they received petitions representing $106,034.65 out of a total assessed value in the proposed district of $210,388.90, which is 50.4%. The report doesn’t say how many distinct owners signed petitions nor who they were, but I’m working on finding out. The next stage in the formal process is for City Council to pass a so-called Ordinance of Intention, the draft of which is available here.
Once this is passed the City Clerk will mail out ballots to all the property owners and if enough of them, again weighted by assessment amounts, vote in favor of the BID City Council will pass another ordinance creating the BID. Before this can happen the owners have to know what services their extra taxes are going to fund, which is laid out in great detail in the so-called Management District Plan.6 When a BID is created this document7 is incorporated into the law establishing it and then they can’t spend money for anything not enumerated in the plan. The proposed West Adams BID’s MDP is here.
So I attended the meeting and made video of the BHES segment.1 And you can watch the whole thing here on YouTube or here on Archive.Org, which is extra good if you want to download it. The NC Board gave each side seven minutes to speak on their positions. Also, Vernail Skaggs of LAUSD spoke to explain how the co-location process works. There was vigorous public comment as well, and in the end the Board voted 8 to 3 in favor of supporting the resolution and declaring Baldwin Hills Elementary School a “charter free zone.”
NC resolutions are advisory even on the City of Los Angeles, and since LAUSD is completely independent of the City government, they’re even less than advisory in that context. Nevertheless, this is an important victory. The more NCs and other community groups in Los Angeles speak out against charter schools the more incentive City politicians will have to oppose them. The school board and the legislature take the opinions of our City pols seriously,2 so even though this resolution is symbolic in itself, it’s nevertheless an important piece of a large-scale anti-charter movement in Los Angeles.
It was just revealed a few weeks ago that New City America, a BID consultancy helmed by noted legal scholar1 and raging psychopath Marco Li Mandri, has been planning a business improvement district for West Adams in concert with co-conspirators CIM Group. And yesterday I finally managed to lay my hands on a little more specific information. This all comes from this 11 page packet, handed out at the most recent meeting of the proposed BID’s steering committee.
Of the most immediate import is this map of the proposed district. For the first time we know that, at least at the end of October 2018 it was planned to run along West Adams from La Brea to Genesee. There’s also this summary showing that, again as of October 2018, the property owners were polling at 39% in favor of BID establishment. Don’t forget, though, that per the Property and Business Improvement District Act at §36621(a) they’re not counting individual property owners, but weighting them by assessments to be paid.2 This document is also essential because it exposes a long list of hitherto unknown LLCs that CIM uses to own its various properties.
If that sounds high, well, it’s not surprising. See this list of parcels in the proposed BID sorted by whether the owners are in favor or not. See that Catherine Randall, who is VP in charge of some damn crapola at CIM group, is the designated representative for a full 33 parcels. Sadly, without more information than I’ve been able to gather, I’m not able to determine what percent of the voting power this will give CIM group. But it’s going to be high. They’re the largest single owner in the proposed district.3 The only thing we can be sure of is that they hold less than 39% of the total square footage.
And the last important bit of documentation to be found here is this copy of a questionnaire that Marco Li Mandri sent out to the property owners. This one has a tally of the responses to the various questions, which is also interesting. The City of LA requires this kind of polling before they’ll get behind a BID establishment process, but you can see from this instance that there is no kind of quality control at all. Just for freaking instance, the very first question asks “In terms of security and public safety, do you feel that West Adams District is…? (a) safe and orderly (b) Relatively safe, may suffer from unsafe image (c) Unsafe
In short, the story started with private security guards at a Rick Caruso hypermall in Glendale flipping out because someone was taking pictures and not shopping, escalated to an attempt to get the Glendale PD to stop the guy and identify him, and ended up in Hollywood with then Hollywood Station Boss Commander Peter Zarcone reading through legally distributed pamphlets, deciding that they were acceptably critical of bad Islamist stuff, and subsequently reporting the distributors, law-abiding Muslims from the Islamic Institute of Orange County, to the LAPD’s Major Crimes Division.
This morning’s L.A. Times features an excellent story about how CIM Group defrauds its tenants in poverty-stricken but gentrifying areas of the City, telling them that they’re about to be evicted and offering them small amounts of money to sign releases. Of course, in Los Angeles, most low-cost rental units are covered by rent control laws which give these tenants significant protections which they don’t know about. CIM Group takes significant and soon-to-be-illegal advantage of this ignorance.
Last month we broke the story of Kerry Morrison’s insistence that street characters on Hollywood Blvd. must be outlawed to curb terrorism while carving out a performative exception for the Ku Klux Klan’s Hancock Park operations. One of the incidents described there was a terse summary from HPOA Board minutes about how some meeting was tense because the City Attorney’s office had “…dropped the ball…” and they walked out of the meeting (due to shame or something).
Yesterday, while perusing the agenda of the January HPOA meeting, which I wasn’t able to attend, I noticed the interesting statement that the “Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition [is] seeking new location within Hollywood Entertainment District BID.” This was in the Security Subcommittee report, because the GWHFC in the eyes of the HPOA comprises (to paraphrase Ted Landreth) “enemies of the people.” Well, I hadn’t heard about this, and made a note to look into it. And, as it happens, I was over at the CD4 Hollywood Field Office this morning scanning some emails for a whole different project1 when I came across this email chain between Ted Landreth of the GWHFC, Sarah Dusseault (CM Ryu’s Chief of Staff), Nikki Ezhari (CD4 Hollywood Field Deputy), and others, announcing the Food Coalition’s planned move to a location near Hollywood and Gower! They’re raising funds to buy property (give generously here) and are more than 25% of the way to their goal. Details on their plans for the property and some other comments after the break. Continue reading Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition Planning Move to Hollywood and Gower; HPOA Security on Alert→
I only have this little snippet of the email chain, so I don’t yet know the favor Kerry was asking nor the outcome of the ask. I have requests out for the rest, though, and I’ll provide new information as it comes in. I will say that I’d prefer that the LAPD would be concerned more with the reality of not being in the pocket of a private developer than the perception of it, but maybe that’s idealistic. And I’d say that the fact that Kerry Morrison even felt free to ask him for anything on behalf of CIM shows that probably the LAPD essentially is already “…in the pocket of a private developer.” Why did she think that asking him would yield results if similar requests in the past hadn’t already worked? My collection of BID/LAPD emails is presently too fragmentary to allow the drawing of many solid conclusions, but the amount of it that has to do with real estate is surprising.
For instance, here’s another email, this one from HPOA Assistant Boss Joseph Mariani to Hollywood cop Darrell Davis asking for info on Hollywood crime stats that a broker needs immediately to convince a client to buy in Hollywood. Again, I don’t yet know the full story, but I’m working on getting it. However, the level of familiarity that Joe displays suggests convincingly that LAPD assistance with Hollywood real estate transactions is the norm. Says Joe to Darrell: “Ideally he said he would need this today. Let me know if that’s possible. If not I’ll try and buy some time.”