That first time they ignored me and they ignored me and they ignored me until finally I had to hire a lawyer and pry the goodies out of their creepy grasping fingers by main force. But, as we know, the thug life is a powerful draw, and gangsters get hooked on lawbreaking like a drug. Despite being given every chance by society to reform their outlaw ways, these hardcore BIDdies sadly persisted in their chosen life of crime.
Friends, in my role as investigative journalist I put myself in a lot of dangerous situations for the sake of finding out and publishing the truth. But TBH, the most frightened I ever am in this job is when a story takes me down to the mean streets of South Central Hollywood. There’s no scarier place in this City, friends.
Just for instance, starvation is evidently rampant in this racially segregated food desert, as evidenced by the fact that I regularly see adult human beings weighing less than 90 pounds, running through the streets in what appears to the trained anthropological eye to be sheer terror. The fact that they’re mostly women just goes to show that the patriarchal social norms prevalent in South Central Hollywood lead the men to withhold scarce and expensive food from their females, whom they see purely as chattels.
And I’m not kidding about scarce and expensive. Last time I foraged for food in South Central Hollywood I ended up being charged $22.95 for a California Roll, something which can be obtained in more fortunate parts of the City for about $3. And it only had six slices! It’s well-known, of course, that hunger brings on the kind of hopelessness that makes people with nothing to lose, no future that they can see, attack randomly. So I’m always cautious in South Central Hollywood! But nothing can keep me from reporting the truth.
Well, I have been chronicling my troubles with the so-called Larchmont Village BID for at least six months now, starting with their stubborn recalcitrance in releasing records having to do with their accursed signal box art contest, to, more recently, my six month long battle to get a copy of their bylaws out of them, to my eight month struggle to get them to notify me of their damnable meetings as required by the Brown Act at §54954.1, to their appearance in a reprehensible series of emails between City employee Rita Moreno, a BID analyst with the City Clerk’s Neighborhood and Business Improvement District Division, nominally tasked with overseeing BIDs but, in actuality, engaged in enabling their misbehavior and lawlessness.
The thing about those emails was that, along with a bunch of other criminal BIDs, the Larchmont Village BID didn’t post its agendas on its website, even though the Brown Act at §54954.2(a)(1) requires it to do so. And Rita Moreno, rather than telling the lawless BIDs that they were breaking the freaking law, handed out gold stars to the ones who were following it.
Yesterday evening, BID-lawyer-to-the-stars Jeffrey Charles Briggs passed along almost 200 emails between Media District BID executive director Lisa Schechter and various people at the City of Los Angeles. These are available en masse at Archive.Org. As always, there’s a lot of chaff in there and a few super-interesting things.1 Perhaps today’s story is an example of the latter.
It began on February 28, when Rita Moreno, newly of the Neighborhood and Business Improvement Division of the City Clerk’s office, the unit that’s meant to oversee the operations of BIDs and make sure that they follow the law and stuff, emailed a bunch of BIDdies to introduce herself and note that only a few of them had their meeting times posted on their websites. Of course, the Brown Act explicitly requires BIDs to notice their meetings on their websites,2 but that’s actually not why Rita was on about this. She was just trying to find out when they met so that she could attend. In fact, it’s not even clear that Rita Moreno knew about the Brown Act requirement.
However, the very next day, our old friend Lisa Schechter of the Hollywood Media District BID, who is not generally known for her law-abiding behavior but who has by now been educated by years of our intense scrutiny to the point where, I hope, she’s beginning to realize that it’s just easier to follow the law,3wrote back to Rita Moreno, fishing for praise from this unlikely authority figure:
Just to reiterate, all of our meetings are posted in accordance with the Brown Act (Committee as well as Board) – Further you have been placed on our automatic distribution list which triggers and [sic] email directly to you for all of our meetings. If you should require any further information please do not hesitate to contact myself or our operations manager, Jim Omahen.
Emails from Fashion District BID about Skid Row Neighborhood Council — This is clearly the most important item I have to announce today so I’m putting it first. If you’re interested at all in how the Downtown zillionaire elite crushed the SRNC formation effort you’ll want to read this stuff. There is what appears to be new evidence about the identities of the people behind the infamous United Downtown LA front group that hired Rocky Delgadillo to write a demand letter to City Council over the SRNC, although there’s still no smoking gun. I will be writing more about this material, but it may take a few days, and I wanted to get it before you as quickly as possible.
Figueroa Corridor BID tax forms — From 2013 through 2015. It’s interesting to learn here that the Figueroa Corridor BID has been “IN THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING A CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY, WHISTLEBLOWER POLICY, AND DOCUMENT RETENTION AND DESTRUCTION POLICY.” at least since 2013, with no sign of actually producing anything. Ah, sigh.
North Hollywood BID tax forms — From 2013 through 2015. It’s interesting to learn here that this BID and the Figueroa Corridor BID, both of which are administered by our old friends at Urban Place Consulting, turns in copypasta from the FCBID on their tax forms. Just for instance, they too have been “IN THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING A CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY, WHISTLEBLOWER POLICY, AND DOCUMENT RETENTION AND DESTRUCTION POLICY.” at least since 2013, with no sign of actually producing anything.
Last Summer we broke the story of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance’s anti-Latino signal box art contests and of CD13 Councildude Mitch O’Farrell’s willing complicity in this disgraceful episode, along with his stubborn doubling-down through silence in the face of what1 seems like some pretty cogent criticism. The story has dropped off the blog, but not off our agenda. The last thing I discovered, but did not write about until now, was that the Google revealed2 that the kooky little backwater BID in Larchmont Village, that old-school Southern California Apartheid throwback3 ritz-o-rama neighborhood in South Central Hollywood,4 had also held a signal box art contest, and it had also included the very phrase made famous by its ethnic-cleansing big sisters to the North: “No cartoon images or graffiti work of any kind will be considered.”
Well, naturally, I was going to investigate this phenomenon, the point being to find ground zero of this pernicious nonsense,5 so on August 6, 2016, I fired off a CPRA request to Heather Duffy Boylston, whose email address is linked to in the BID’s contact form. Wait a while. Crickets. I spent the next couple months firing off more emails to various co-BIDspirators,6 making phone calls, leaving voicemails and messages, offering to stop by offices, whatevers, and still…just silence. I asked Miranda Paster to intervene. I asked Holly Wolcott to intervene. Nothing. So finally, even though I hate to spend the money, but who can sit around doing nothing7 while zillionaires flaunt their characteristic indifference to truth, justice, and the rule of law, I hired a lawyer to fire off a demand letter. That woke them up, and they sent me a whole bunch of nonsensical irritating junk about their signal box art contest. You can browse through it in the usual places: