Carol Schatz's "Purple Meanies"
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2005 06:44:29 -0000
Subject: 800 Pound Gorilla's and Carol Scahtz's "Purple Meanies" Life in Pepperland"
The latest edition of the Garment & Citizen is sort of missing. If any one can find a copy on the streets in a news stand rack please let me know. Was it "sold out" because of the Pamela Anderson article ?. Or perhaps it was sold out because of the scathing editorial letter from the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN) outlining continuing "Purple Patrol" problems culminating in the assault by a BID security guard on a Director of LA CAN outside of the LA CAN office on Main
Here is the article that was in the missing newspaper :
Publish Date : 08/16/2005
Letter to the Editor
A Challenging Perspective on BIDs
Re: "Defending the BID," (Letter to the Editor, Garment & Citizen issue of August 10):
Although Carol Schatz, president and chief executive officer of the Downtown Center Business Improvement District (BID), painted BID security guards as a well-trained and flawless group, abuse by BID guards throughout Downtown is a long-standing and well-documented issue. Her perspective is narrow, to say the least, and incendiary to
many poor residents of color.
Schatz claims that law-abiding citizens "are actually grateful for the incredible job that BID officers do in keeping Downtown's streets safe for the entire public." To the contrary, we have evidence of scores of law-abiding citizens who strongly disagree with her and who are not grateful for the types of treatment they have suffered at the hands of BID guards.
The guards, armed with the support of LAPD, are nothing more than a band of bullies preying on the weakest members of our community. They carry out tasks solely at the behest of property owners and business representatives, often resulting in the perpetuation of a culture of lawlessness and violence against low-income people. Since 2000, the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN) has responded to BID
security improprieties in a reasonable fashion, only to find ourselves, five years later, falling victim to an environment of more violence against our membership and community.
LA CAN has an extensive working history with this issue, including community-based research to identify problems and shortcomings of BID security protocol. In February 2000 we released "Business Improvement Districts: Protecting or Provoking?"�a report that closely examined relationships between BID security guards and poor residents. The findings of that report served as the basis for a set of community demands geared towards easing the then-growing tensions, most of which were achieved.
From 2001 through 2003, LA CAN developed a community-based BID Security Sensitivity Training Curriculum which was conducted numerous times with the Historic Core BID and the Central City East Association BID. Concurrently, multiple lawsuits were being settled with various BIDs in the Downtown area, resulting in stipulations to end civil rights and other violations by security guards against extremely poor and homeless residents. This confluence of activities led to a marked improvement of relationships between security guards and impoverished Downtown residents.
But currently, in the wake of the expiration of legal settlements and breakdown of communications between BIDs and community groups, we are witnessing a reinvigorated pattern of attacks against law-abiding poor people of color.
In July 2005, Pete White, Co-Director of LA CAN, was struck by a BID security guard directly in front of LA CAN headquarters as multiple witnesses looked on�an incident currently being investigated by LAPD. It is our right as "law-abiding" citizens to walk out of our office and observe questionable activity without the threat of violence being used against us.
In the past few months, we have documented numerous similar incidents involving illegal practices of BID security guards commonly used in our community.
No longer will we listen to, or swallow, rationales suggesting that foul play by guards is not happening or is nothing more than "a few bad apples." Our community has been plagued with not "a few bad apples" but instead "an entire rotten orchard." The time has come once again to get all affected parties in a room together to finally fix these problems of civil and human rights abuses once and for all�or to once again sustain the consequences.
Los Angeles Community Action Network