A developer wants to build a building that’s taller than the local zoning allows, or has less parking than required. Maybe there are pesky historical structures on the proposed site or the new building will attract enough additional traffic to gridlock the streets around it. There are any number of reasons why a given building might not be allowed. It’ll still get built, though.
The developer will just have to pay hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars to the appropriate councilmember to get it approved. And these payments are inextricably integrated into our City’s building approval process. One might even suspect, and not without reason, that the ultimate purpose of zoning codes in Los Angeles is to induce developers to pay for exceptions to them.
And it’s not bribery, at least not the illegal kind. The CM doesn’t get to pocket the money. Instead it goes into one of the dozens of City trust funds set up specifically for receiving such monies. Just for instance, Mitch O’Farrell, CD13 repster, has one called the “Council District 13 Public Benefits Trust Fund.” It’s authorized by the Los Angeles Administrative Code at §5.414” for the receipt, retention and disbursement of gifts, contributions and bequests for the support of police and community activities within Council District 13.”
I recently obtained about 140 hand-written daily logs prepared by the Hollywood Media District BID’s security guards. These are also available via Archive.Org, which has the advantage that the whole set can be downloaded using BitTorrent. The set is not complete, and it mostly comprises swing shift logs, but I didn’t select these at all. I just scanned them in the order in which they were provided to me.
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→
Those are actual quotes in the headline. They come from this email chain between bunches of people in the Media District BID, LAPD Hollywood Division Senior Lead Officer Julie Nony, and Dan Halden of CD13. Here’s more of the context, but you’ll have to read the whole thing to believe it. Chie Kobayashi, of yet another incomprehensible new media post-production outfit on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd. and Melrose, wrote to Julie to complain in detail about homeless people. Julie wrote back:
We really need to get every business on the same page so this doesn’t continue to happen. It might seem strange and ugly at first but if you are new to the area and don’t know how things operate, this can get really out of hand. I will be out for the rest of the week, so I can not personally be there. Please call our front desk number if you should need to have a police unit come out (213-972-2971/2972/2973).
And of course call the B.I.D. first to see if they can handle it. The homeless are a lot like kids in a way. If we warn them and there is no follow through (like we did with the encampment) then they will test us and do what they can get away with. I would like to have a meeting with you, Vince Clothing, Red Studios, Milk, School PD, B.I.D., Vine Street Elementary and your neighbors just north of you. And whoever else you can think of. Lets [sic] all get together and share in the responsibility of keeping this area clean. Thank you!
We’re not sure where to start with this. We might note that it’s probably true that if kids get warned and there’s no follow through then they’ll test limits. But it’s not true because they’re kids, it’s true because they’re human. The instinct for testing limits is responsible for all human progress and is necessary for human survival.1 We might note that if your methods seem “strange and ugly at first…if you are new to the area” then there’s a reasonable chance that they are in fact strange and ugly. And their methods are very strange and very ugly. We’re not even new to the area and we think they’re strange and ugly. Some of us have grandparents who moved to Hollywood in 1908. Some of us have spent more than half a century in and around Hollywood. And yet we think the methods Julie’s talking about are strange and ugly.
OK, listen up! Long-time readers1 of this blog will recall that in 2010 and 2011 the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition, the Media District BID, some LAPD folks, and some random neighborhood residents all engaged in a “mediation process” of some type, mostly aimed at getting the food coalition to move its nightly feeding program out of the BID. The whole document is well worth reading, stunning as it is vis–à–vis its truly astonishing level of crazy, but we’re focusing on just one episode. Let us now lay out the dramatis personæ.
I am pleased to announce the availability of a highly random selection of emails from 2014 between the Media District BID and their security provider, Universal Protection Service. The emails, which don’t seem to be organized either chronologically or topically, can be found in three PDFs here, and also through the menus in the navigation bar above (leading to here). Right now not much of this material seems that interesting, although it does reveal the previously-only-suspected fact that the HMD BID spends actual money having UPS spy on the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition. On the other hand, I just finished reading Barry Siegel’s fine book Claim of privilege : a mysterious plane crash, a landmark Supreme Court case and the rise of state secrets, in which government lawyers patiently spend half a century explaining, lying when they must, to various courts that even routine, superficially innocuous-seeming facts can actually be top-seekrit (even if they’ve already been published to the world) because knowledgeable people can piece them into a “mosaic” which reveals EVERYTHING!!! I’m not at that point yet with these emails but when I get there you all will be the first to know.