This blog has two essential purposes: first, to publish public records obtained from the three Hollywood area BIDs we cover and their collaborators and second, to needle employees and supporters of those BIDs. Neither educating nor convincing anyone of anything are huge priorities of ours, and even the public revelation of our two purposes cuts against the grain somewhat. However, it’s recently come to our attention that some of our readers who, so to speak, come upon our work innocently, not involved with the BIDs but just having a general interest in the political life of Los Angeles, may consider our constant comparisons of BIDs with Nazis to be glib, puerile, shallow, offensive, trivializing, and/or so on. Some of the objections expressed have come to seem, after much consideration, to have merit and to deserve a serious response.
To understand our position, it’s essential to imagine what it felt like to inhabit the Third Reich as a non-Jew in the early 1930s, before Nazism was a universal symbol of pure and essential evil. Germany wasn’t yet an international outcast, and non-Jewish Germans, for the most part, didn’t feel like a nation of demons. In many ways they were not. Concentration camps, now considered primarily sites of genocide, were opened by the Nazis in March 1933 immediately after their accession to power. At first they were used for holding political prisoners and criminals and people were actually released from them on occasion. There’s also no particular reason to think that the Nazi government had any concrete plans to exterminate Jews from the earth when they took power in 1933. Continue reading Why We Think it is Fitting to Compare BIDs to Nazis→
We’ve written previously about John Tronson, who, for whatever reason, is no longer president of the Hollywood Entertainment District BID Board of Directors, and his disingenuous, self-serving, mendacious contention that the state of California has no need for the saintly Senator Carol Liu‘s recently introduced SB608, the Right to Rest Act. According to Tronson:
Update April 24, 2015:The Instagram account discussed and linked to in this post has been made private, breaking the link and embedding. It’s a shame we didn’t take screenshots, but we just don’t usually expect people to reveal stuff that they’ll realize they’re ashamed of when it’s noticed. See 2 Corinthians 4:2.
That’s it! There’s not really much point to this post other than to showcase the image, which is one of about 5 gigs of ’em which we recently obtained from the HPOA under the California Public Records Act, to mention that we should have another image dump on our hands this week if all goes well, and to link to that patently offensive song by LA’s own RHCP. Carry on!
Image of Steve Seyler pimping it with Julie Nony is a public record. Image of Julie Nony with Steve Seyler mini-me is embedded and, as we all know, if we don’t host it we don’t violate nuthin’!
We have written before about the BIDs’ hysterical, dishonest opposition to City Councilman José Huizar‘s proposal to legalize street vending. We’ve discussed the fact that many of the BID board members who oppose this law are themselves criminals, although not the kind who get prosecuted for their dirty deeds. We’ve written about how their froth-mouth rage at this relatively small move in the direction of sanity puts them in opposition to democracy itself. But we haven’t yet written about the very human cost of continuing to outlaw street vending in Los Angeles. Continue reading Don’t Incarcerate the Ice Cream Man→
The late Lee Atwater, erstwhile bought-and-souled Robert Johnson of the Republican party, in a rare moment of lucidity, once explained how white politicians enforced and maintained white supremacy in the United States in the last half of the Twentieth Century:
You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.
And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.’1
From 1865 through nineteen-fifty-something, politicians and demagogues, e.g. Nathan Bedford Forrest, founder of the first incarnation of white businessman’s social group the Ku Klux Klan and Woodrow Wilson, erstwhile president of white supremacist organization Harvard University, could just use the magical incantation of “nigger, nigger, nigger,” and their will would be done.
But, as Lee points out, things started to get more complicated. Instead of saying “nigger,” white supremacists had to talk about states’ rights, and, later taxation. This was the essence of Richard Nixon’s so-called Southern Strategy, which got him elected in 1968 using those precise codewords which his audience heard as “nigger, nigger, nigger,” the same Southern Strategy that a star-struck Lee Atwater is glorifying to the heavens as he breathlessly describes its genius.
Pollyanna, the most famous optimist in American literature, is known and celebrated as the originator and primary evangelist of “the just being glad game.” Listen, O citizens of Hollywood, as she explains it to Nancy:1
“Why, it’s a game. Father told it to me, and it’s lovely. We’ve played it always, ever since I was a little, little girl…the game was just to find something about everything to be glad about—no matter what ’twas.”2
Now, Pollyanna gets a bad rap these days, but she’s our hero, really. We haven’t the space to defend her, though, because we have to analyze a May 2014 blog post by Sarah Besley, evidently the Associate Executive Directrix of the Hollywood Property Owners Association and stuff.
Check it! Sarah Besley is scared of freeway overpasses: [An overpass] may be one of the worst statements EVER to anyone who visits and certainly to anyone who lives in or around it – especially if their community has been severed in half. An overpass literally says: this community favors cars over people and I dare you to walk underneath me and emerge on the other side alive. This is the message I’ve been getting for the past couple years as I commute from Los Feliz, along Franklin Avenue, down Argyle…3
But wait! Maybe Los Felizites are scared of freeway overpasses because they don’t have any there?4 The terror of the unknown is formidable and possibly overwhelms slurbians when they come to the big town.5 Hollywoodies, living in raw urban splendor in the very heart of the city, surely just take them in stride, don’t they? The answer would appear to be yes, even on Sarah Besley’s testimony:
Convergent evolution occurs in biological species when two types of organism occupy similar niches, are subject to similar selection pressures, have to solve the same sorts of problems in order to succeed in the tasks that their environments set for them,1 and so on. Thus when two organisms have evolved similar survival tactics, it’s reasonable to draw the conclusion that they’re trying to solve similar problems in the world, that they play a similar role in the grand scheme of being.2
And it’s an undeniable fact that Kerry Morrison and the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance are, against the express will of Jesus Christ, obsessed with discouraging people from giving money to panhandlers directly. Just the briefest glance at any of their newsletters will convince you of this. In particular, see page 7 of the Summer 2014 issue, in which Kerry Morrison asks herself and, by extension, you, the reader, if she should give money to panhandlers (SPOILER: no!). Kerry gives no real reasons at all here or anywhere, so far as we can see.
Admittedly she gives what seem like reasons at first glance, e.g. she asserts that the homeless will spend the money on alcohol and then get arrested by the BID patrol for drinking it in public, but there’s no explanatory force here. Kerry’s the Executive Directrix of the HPOA and thus the big boss of the BID patrol. She is a woman under authority, with soldiers under her; and she says to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes.3 If she doesn’t want people getting arrested for drinking in public, all she’s gotta do is tell her gunmen to stop arresting them. There’s no need to propagandize against giving money to the poor if the goal is merely to arrest fewer people.
And it doesn’t stop with propaganda, either. There are actual machines involved. See, e.g., page 5 of the Summer 2014 HPOA Newsletter, in which Kerry promotes machines that people can put money into instead of handing it personally to panhandlers. This, says she, is “a positive option for passersby to contribute change to help people.” These machines cost $2500 a pop and they’re looking at getting 12 of them. That comes to $30,000 altogether, which is actually about 2% of the HPOA’s annual security budget. There’s some serious purpose at work or the HPOA wouldn’t be willing to spend such an outrageous amount of money,7 but we’ll be damned if we can see what it is. Fortunately, we have an analytic tool that will let us understand everything and then explain it to you! Continue reading So-Called “Donation Stations” in Hollywood and Aktion Arbeitsscheu Reich: A Curious Instance of Convergent Evolution→
Today’s text, brothers and sisters, as we begin to return to action after celebrating the birth of our Lord and savior, is Hosea 8:1-7:
…[T]hey have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law. Hollywood shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee. Hollywood hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him. They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off… For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…
Image of Hosea by Duccio di Buoninsegna is in the public domain and available via Wikimedia here.