Category Archives: The Race Card

How I Videotaped Yesterday’s North Figueroa Association Board Meeting And Got Screamed At By Functionally Illiterate CD1 Field Deputy Bill Freaking Cody — Who, By The Way, Is So Dumb He Thinks White Supremacists Have To Be White — And Board Members Started Undressing To Prove They Were “People Of Color”! — Oh, And Hipster Restaurateur Icon James Bygrave Quit The Board

So yeah, the headline pretty much says it all. I filmed yesterday’s meeting of the North Figueroa Association and got yelled at by a toadie.1 You can watch the video:

They didn’t make quorum, so the meeting was short. The third most interesting part was the report by the world’s oldest field deputy, the toadlike toadie Mr. Bill Freaking Cody, which you can watch beginning here. In particular, Bill Cody notes that CD1 will be holding “an overall design meeting for Highland Park, probably the first week of August.” He lists the groups that will be invited and, big surprise, none of the local arts activism groups are included.

The second most interesting occurrence was Board President Tom Wilson’s announcement that James Bygrave, hipster restaurateur and member of the Highland Park BID’s super-exclusive Facebook stalking committee, is resigning from the Board. Bye James!

And like one of our idols,2we have saved the best for last!” Turn the page for all the news concerning el gran mamón Bill Cody’s rage-rant about how unlike all other BIDs in Los Angeles the members of the Highland Park BID Board of Directors are largely people of color which, it seems, was a response to a recent post of mine that he either didn’t read carefully or wasn’t capable of understanding.3 Read on, friends!
Continue reading How I Videotaped Yesterday’s North Figueroa Association Board Meeting And Got Screamed At By Functionally Illiterate CD1 Field Deputy Bill Freaking Cody — Who, By The Way, Is So Dumb He Thinks White Supremacists Have To Be White — And Board Members Started Undressing To Prove They Were “People Of Color”! — Oh, And Hipster Restaurateur Icon James Bygrave Quit The Board

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Tamales Nos Cuidan: Social Cleansing, Kerry Morrison, Donald Trump, And The Battle For Legal Street Vending In Los Angeles And Beyond

Tamalera on Hoover Street, South Los Angeles, January 2018.
Recently, a little after 7 a.m. on a fine cool Los Angeles Winter morning, I found myself on Hoover Street a little South of Vernon. If you know the area, or areas like it, you won’t be surprised to hear that at that time of day there were tamaleras everywhere. At major intersections, of course, and also near schools, selling tamales y champurrado for breakfast. You can see a picture somewhere near this sentence that I took while waiting my turn in line.

The whole scene is entirely social. There are grandmothers buying a dozen at a time to take home, people on their ways to work buying two or three for breakfast, maybe for lunch too, and schoolkids buying singles to eat while they walk.1 The tamalera creates a little bubble of warm sociability around her, momentarily protecting those inside from the chill of the foggy damp onshore flow.

This doesn’t happen only on the streets of South Los Angeles, of course. Last month Gustavo Arellano published a lovely article in the New Yorker entitled The Comfort of Tamales At The End Of 2017 about the significant social role of this ancient food2 in Mexican-American culture. And you can feel that sociability strongly while waiting in line to buy tamales on an L.A. street in the morning.

But as you’re probably aware, it’s looking more and more likely that the City Council, despite their generally supportive pro-vendor rhetoric, is going to allow business interests and property owners to veto street vending on a highly localized basis for essentially no rational reason at all. One of the most random exclusionary zones recommended in the November 2017 report of the Chief Legislative Analyst is anywhere within 500 feet of Hollywood Boulevard.
Continue reading Tamales Nos Cuidan: Social Cleansing, Kerry Morrison, Donald Trump, And The Battle For Legal Street Vending In Los Angeles And Beyond

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First The San Pedro BID Hated The Car Show. Then The San Pedro BID Loved The Car Show. Then The San Pedro BID Lobbied The City On The Car Show’s Behalf. But To Keep The BID’s Love The Car Show Had To Agree To Typically Coded Typically Racist Cultural Conditions: No Hip Hop. No Rap Music.

Once upon a time in 2016 an organization called Hot Import Nights was going to host a car show in Downtown San Pedro. This would seem to be a natural fit, since San Pedro is nestled between such motorhead meccas as Torrance and Gardena and Carson and Long Beach, famed hot spots of both formal and informal Southern California car culture due not in small part to the feverish and innovative automotive, aerospace, and marine manufacturing activities centered in the subregion for more than a century at this point.

But if there’s a BID in the woodpile they’re going to have an opinion, either puritanical, stupid, or both, on any proposed activities within their jurisdiction, whether it’s any of their concern or not. And it’s well-known to those who know it well that Downtown San Pedro is cursed by being chronically subject to the tender mercies of the San Pedro Historic Waterfront BID. And thus it is no surprise that the BID weighed in on the car show. And it’s no surprise that they hated it. It’s exactly the kind of thing that knee-jerk puritanical real estate minions will hate.

But what is a surprise is that they changed their little minds and came to love it. They loved it so darn much that they signed an MOU with it and agreed to lobby the City on its behalf. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch and white supremacy will exact payment for any favors it bestows. In exchange for the BID’s aid and comfort, the car show had to agree not to play any rap music or hip hop at their event, and a bunch of other, as weird but possibly less racist, conditions as well.

This unreasoned, or at least publicly unreasoned, hatred for all things insufficiently caucasian, is for whatever reason, a signature element of BIDolatry in the City of Los Angeles. Over the years we’ve uncovered, e.g., the fact that the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance really, really hates Chicano-associated art genres as well as music that attracts dark-skinned patrons. The freaking HPOA even hates Peruvians if they seem like they’re getting too comfy in Hollywood.

These weird, crypto-racist attitudes are not just the province of our frenemies at the HPOA. They are evidently shared by BIDs all over the City. Thus it’s really no surprise to find that the San Pedro BIDdies are a bunch of cultural crypto-racists as well. But, as always, it’s still surprising, still disconcerting, to see the details figured plain as though upon a lighted screen. Turn the page for the story in detail with extensive documentation!
Continue reading First The San Pedro BID Hated The Car Show. Then The San Pedro BID Loved The Car Show. Then The San Pedro BID Lobbied The City On The Car Show’s Behalf. But To Keep The BID’s Love The Car Show Had To Agree To Typically Coded Typically Racist Cultural Conditions: No Hip Hop. No Rap Music.

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South Central Hollywood Stories: Larchmont Village BID, Forced To Capitulate To Reality, Posts Agenda In Public Like A Freaking Scarlet Letter. Homies, In Line With ‘Hood Etiquette, Pretend Not To Notice, But Shame Is Almost Tangible

Cap’n Tom Kneafsey, South Central Hollywood shot caller and BID boss of the Larchmont Village BID accepts some new realities while expressing his nostalgia for the good old lawless days out on the Boulevard. In the background you can see photographic proof that the BID actually did post their damned agenda. So that happened.
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.

You may recall that on Friday I discovered that, for the first time in their long lawless history, the Larchmont Village BID was going to try to comply with the Brown Act by noticing their meetings as required by law. So I thought I’d better run out to the South Central Hollywood “‘Hood”1 and investigate. Turn the page for the rest of the story!
Continue reading South Central Hollywood Stories: Larchmont Village BID, Forced To Capitulate To Reality, Posts Agenda In Public Like A Freaking Scarlet Letter. Homies, In Line With ‘Hood Etiquette, Pretend Not To Notice, But Shame Is Almost Tangible

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How Surreal Can LA Politics Get?! Joe Bray-Ali, Favored Candidate Of Councilboy Mitch O’Farrell, Himself Working Feverishly To Outlaw Racism And Stuff In Los Angeles, Is Exposed As A Crypto-Racist Fat-Shaming Homo-Transo-Phobo-Creep On The Internet!

NOTE: YOU READ IT HERE FIRST — I PREDICT THAT EITHER BRAY-ALI WILL WITHDRAW FROM THE RACE OR ELSE MITCH AND THE LA TIMES WILL WITHDRAW THEIR ENDORSEMENTS OF JOE BRAY-ALI OVER THIS ISSUE.

UPDATE: AT 10:47 A.M. ON APRIL 27, MITCH O’FARRELL WITHDREW HIS ENDORSEMENT!
UPDATE 2: ON APRIL 27 AT 3:10 PM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES RESCINDED ITS ENDORSEMENT OF JOE BRAY-ALI.

Today Laist.com revealed that Council District 1 candidate Joe Bray-Ali has a history of posting weirdly offensive pernicious nonsense on exceedingly disgusting alt-right website Voat.Com, which seems to be some kind of refuge for people who manage to pull off the unexpectedly possible trick of getting kicked off Reddit for being too despicable.1 You should read the article for the details, and I’ve summarized them in the picture that appears somewhere near this sentence. The guy says nasty racist, fat-shaming, transphobic, sexist, stuff, although the bare fact that he’s participating in forums called things like /v/Niggers as if they were somehow normal, somehow mainstream, is in many ways worse than anything he says there. I I speculated last month that this campaign was only going to get weirder, but I had no idea how right I would turn out to be.

This is a really bad turn of events for fecklessly idiotic Councilboy Mitch O’Farrell who famously endorsed Bray-Ali over his colleague Gil Cedillo. He also, for whatever reason, has allowed his staff to give money to Bray-Ali. O’Farrell, of course, is famous for having introduced a Council motion seeking essentially to outlaw racism, homophobia, transphobia, and so on in Los Angeles. His motion states, in pertinent part, that:
Continue reading How Surreal Can LA Politics Get?! Joe Bray-Ali, Favored Candidate Of Councilboy Mitch O’Farrell, Himself Working Feverishly To Outlaw Racism And Stuff In Los Angeles, Is Exposed As A Crypto-Racist Fat-Shaming Homo-Transo-Phobo-Creep On The Internet!

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Mark Ryavec: the notion that police act as gentrification agents is “a bunch of radical bullshit.” LAPD Captain Cory Palka: “I showed [that developer], through public safety, that we can help him develop and prosper as he invests in Hollywood”

Cory Palka giving a performative demonstration of the fact that Mark Ryavec is not only a slavering psychopath, he’s also either clueless or a liar or both.
A few weeks ago, Rory Carroll published an excellent article in The Guardian on how the City of Los Angeles has used gang injunctions as a tool of gentrification in Venice. Of course, this is not news to anyone who’s been paying attention since the injunction began in 2000. Even at the time it seemed clear that the injunction was a response to the wave of gentrification that began in Venice in the late 1980s and underwent unprecedented acceleration through the 1990s. Of course, everyone who’s smelting gold out of the housing stock of Oakwood in a blast furnace fueled by the burning bodies and lives of the poor people, the dark-skinned people, fed into the hopper by the LAPD, denies this every which way.

And these arguments have been repeated so often I have nightmares about them. “The cops would never ever do such a thing.” “There’s no conspiracy to chase out darkies.”1 And so on and on and on. But Venice’s own muse of slavering psychopathy, the very king of the gentrifiers, the universally acknowledged whitest man in Venice, Mark Ryavec himself, has distilled all of them, every last threadbare tin-foil-hat characterization, into one bitter pithy little ball. As Rory Carroll puts it:

For Mark Ryavec, head of the Venice Stakeholders Association, the notion that police act as gentrification agents is “a bunch of radical bullshit”.

Well, first of all, it’s not actually bullshit.2 The arguments against the idea that the City uses the LAPD to promote gentrification are mostly based on the (probably) factual assertion that (a) the City never mentions gentrification as a purpose for the gang injunctions and (b) that the assertions they make in support of the injunctions have to do with very real problems of violent crime (real at the time when the injunctions are being sought, anyway). There are a number of problems with this line of reasoning.
Continue reading Mark Ryavec: the notion that police act as gentrification agents is “a bunch of radical bullshit.” LAPD Captain Cory Palka: “I showed [that developer], through public safety, that we can help him develop and prosper as he invests in Hollywood”

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How The Racist Cancer Of The HPOA Signal Box Art Contest Rules Spread To The Ritzy Little Apartheid Stronghold of Larchmont Village, Forcing Me To Hire A Lawyer To Pry The Evidence Out Of Their Secretive Grasping Scofflaw Zillionaire Fingers

Artist Ann Bridges's original submission to the Larchmont Village BID's signal box art contest, showing a later-censored illegal fruit cart.
Larchmont Village BID signal box art contest winner Ann Bridges’s original submission, showing a later-censored illegal fruit cart.
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:

And turn the page for the highlights of the contest itself. As always, it’s chock-full of unselfconscious zillionaire weirdness and such-like goodies.
Continue reading How The Racist Cancer Of The HPOA Signal Box Art Contest Rules Spread To The Ritzy Little Apartheid Stronghold of Larchmont Village, Forcing Me To Hire A Lawyer To Pry The Evidence Out Of Their Secretive Grasping Scofflaw Zillionaire Fingers

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Business Improvement Districts As A Force For White Supremacy in Twenty-First Century Los Angeles

This is the most obvious and least dangerous form in which white supremacy expresses itself.
This is the most obvious and least dangerous form in which white supremacy expresses itself.
My colleagues and I spill a lot of metaphorical ink referring to business improvement districts and their Boards of Directors as white supremacists, and we certainly stand by that position. However, it’s recently come to my attention that not everyone in our audience is familiar with the literal meaning of the phrase. Evidently it strikes some people as a generic, semantically empty insult, or else they’re confused by the fact that the phrase refers to at least two fairly distinct ideologies. Thus I thought it would be useful to explain in detail why BIDs are in a very literal sense white supremacist organizations.

First let’s get the definitions straight. As always, our friends at Wikipedia give us a good starting place. Their article on white supremacy tells us that the phrase has two principal meanings. The salient one for our purposes is that white supremacy is:

…a political ideology that perpetuates and maintains the social, political, historical and/or industrial domination by white people

It’s crucial to note that there’s nothing inherently racist about this kind of white supremacy.1 Now, the history of the racial segregation of real estate in Los Angeles is well-known, and Hollywood was at the forefront of it from the early years of the last century. What’s not so well understood is how racially segregated the commercial real estate market was. In fact2 it was certainly more segregated than residential real estate, since white people owned much of the commercial real estate even in areas of the City where nonwhites were allowed to own houses.3
Continue reading Business Improvement Districts As A Force For White Supremacy in Twenty-First Century Los Angeles

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BID Patrol Allegedly Uses the Word “Wetback,” Offending Everybody Except Possibly Anti-Peruvian Director Carol Massie and Graffiti-Art-Haters on Staff and Board

This is not exactly like the BID Patrol.  They don't carry rifles, for one thing.
This is not exactly like the BID Patrol. They don’t carry rifles, for one thing.
We’ve been writing a lot recently on what strongly appears to be an anti-Latino attitude on the part of the two business improvement districts controlled by Kerry Morrison. The first indication of this was their freakout over the too-dark skin color of local nightclub patrons. After that it turned out that they think that official acknowledgement of Peruvian culture in Hollywood would be “amazingly inappropriate.” Also, both BIDs design their public art contests in such a way that the chance of a Latino artist being selected is significantly lowered, with both the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance and the Central Hollywood Coalition being guilty of this.

So against that background it wasn’t all too surprising to read this 2015 complaint to Kerry Morrison from an anonymous person:
Continue reading BID Patrol Allegedly Uses the Word “Wetback,” Offending Everybody Except Possibly Anti-Peruvian Director Carol Massie and Graffiti-Art-Haters on Staff and Board

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