Tag Archives: Highland Park BID

At Last Tuesday’s North Figueroa Association Meeting Jesse Rosas Wanted To Talk About Small Businesses Being Gentrified Out Of Existence In Highland Park — NFA Board Führer Tom Wilson And Bill Cody, The World’s Oldest Field Deputy, Kept Trying To Get Him To Shut Up — Probably Because They Didn’t Want To Talk About It On Camera — And Gil Cedillo Has Hired An Urban Planning Firm To Help Relocate Businesses Out Of Highland Park

If you’re following the situation in Highland Park these days you’ll know that one big issue is with commercial landlords jacking up their tenants’ rents by as much as 300% in some cases just because they can. This drives out familiar businesses to make room for even more hot yoga studios or whatever. And of course, this kind of thing doesn’t just happen by itself. There are actually people making a living arranging it.

And it’s well known that business improvement districts represent the interests of commercial property owners, like these rent-jacking landlords.1 So it wouldn’t be big news that BIDs were in on these conspiracies as well. And thus it was no surprise to discover, when I visited the North Figueroa Association last week, to discover that the plight of the small businesses along Figueroa was a hot topic of discussion.

Well, let me qualify that. It was a hot topic of discussion for Jesse Rosas, a local businessman,2 but, probably because they were hyper-aware of my camera,3 BID boss Tom Wilson and Bill Freaking Cody, the world’s oldest field deputy, kept interrupting him and trying to shush him up. They eventually did get him to stop talking, but not before he managed to mention the words they all dread so very much, to wit: commercial rent control.4

Oh, and not before BIDdenführer Tom Wilson made one of the most ludicrously false statements to which, over the long and illustrious course of my entire BIDdological career, I have been privileged to serve as witness: “we’re here to talk about security and trash.” The only sane response to that is “Yeah, right, Tom Freaking Wilson!!” Watch the conversation for yourself and there’s a transcription and discussion of a few details after the break.
Continue reading At Last Tuesday’s North Figueroa Association Meeting Jesse Rosas Wanted To Talk About Small Businesses Being Gentrified Out Of Existence In Highland Park — NFA Board Führer Tom Wilson And Bill Cody, The World’s Oldest Field Deputy, Kept Trying To Get Him To Shut Up — Probably Because They Didn’t Want To Talk About It On Camera — And Gil Cedillo Has Hired An Urban Planning Firm To Help Relocate Businesses Out Of Highland Park

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How Out Of Touch With Actual Human Reality Is The North Figueroa Association? — They Consider Street Vendors To Be Like Drug Dealers, Prostitutes, And Flashers — They Actually Explicitly Overtly Budget Money Each Year To Dispose Of Inventory Confiscated From Street Vendors — Which Is The Same Thing That The Fashion District BID Got Sued For In Federal Court In 2015 — Is The Highland Park BID Next? — Let’s Freaking Hope So!

As you may know, I recently visited the North Figueroa Association as part of my ongoing attempt to understand just what the heck the zillionaires of Los Angeles are thinking.1 Well, I didn’t figure it out this time, but my reception by the NFA was so freaking bizarro that I thought I’d better spend a little more time looking into the background of this shadowy gang of zillionaire culture warriors.

If you ever want to understand what a given business improvement district is up to, the first thing you should look at is the management district plan. This document is required by the Property and Business Improvement Law of 1994, specifically at §36622, and must contain a sufficiently detailed description of everything the BID proposes to spend money on. The easiest way to locate these is via the City Clerk’s map of L.A. BIDs. Each BID’s description contains a link to its MDP. Here’s the Highland Park BID’s MDP.

In this interesting2 document we find a list of the kinds of things that the BID means to spend its security money on: The presence of the Security Program is intended to deter such illegal activities as drug dealing, public urination, indecent exposure, trespassing, drinking in public, prostitution, illegal panhandling, illegal vending, and illegal dumping.

Now of course, sane human beings understand that street vending is not like these other things. Sure, it’s illegal,3 but nevertheless it’s part of the human fabric of Los Angeles and the laws against it are selectively enforced only at the mere whim of zillionaires. There are street vendors everywhere in this City where there aren’t BIDs and no one, not even the cops, seems to be upset. Normal people are thrilled!

It’s really hard to imagine a serious, sane, socialized human being who doesn’t understand that people selling fresh fruit or tacos cooked to order on a street corner are very different from crack dealers, creepers who expose their genitalia to children, or people who shit on the sidewalk.4 It’s quite strange that the NFA doesn’t get this. But they really, really don’t. Read on for details!
Continue reading How Out Of Touch With Actual Human Reality Is The North Figueroa Association? — They Consider Street Vendors To Be Like Drug Dealers, Prostitutes, And Flashers — They Actually Explicitly Overtly Budget Money Each Year To Dispose Of Inventory Confiscated From Street Vendors — Which Is The Same Thing That The Fashion District BID Got Sued For In Federal Court In 2015 — Is The Highland Park BID Next? — Let’s Freaking Hope So!

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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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Highland Park BID-Associated Facebook Stalkers Discovered That Community Activists Planned A Vigil For Lost Murals — Misty Freaking Iwatsu Reported Their Plans To Cedillo Staffers Terrazas, Rodriguez, And Bill Freaking Cody — Bill Freaking Cody To Misty Freaking Iwatsu: “I Will Handle This” — Same Bill Cody, By The Way, Who Is Way, Way Too Cozy With The Zillionaires For Someone Whose Job Is To Represent The Whole Community

Yesterday I received another 1700 or so emails from Misty Iwatsu of the Highland Park BID in response to my public records act requests. These are available here on Archive.Org. I haven’t had time to read all of them yet, but at least two of them are really important, having to do with the BID’s well-known creepy Facebook stalking of community activists.

Here’s the short version. On November 12, 2017 someone1 sent an email to Misty Iwatsu to alert her to the fact ‘[t]hat guy (Mando) has advertised an event, “We will be having a vigil in memoriam of the murals and art that was already destroyed by Misty Iwatsu”‘. This was accompanied by a screenshot from Facebook showing a discussion about the vigil (There is a full transcription and a copy of the screenshot after the break).

Misty Iwatsu forwarded this email to three Cedillo staffers from the rep’s Highland Park field office, namely Conrado Terrazas, Jose Rodriguez, and Bill Cody. Bill Cody2 emailed his response just 64 minutes later even though it was really late at night on a freaking Sunday, with this astonishing statement: “I will handle this. Talk to you tomorrow.”

I really wonder what the heck the guy is thinking. Some people are planning to do something completely legal and they’re being Facebook-stalked over it by a City-funded zillionaires’ club who is feeling, even though the City Council has carved up the entire City into bite-sized pieces and is feeding it to them bit by freaking bit, that they’re the victims of the story so they have to email CD1 staff in the middle of the night to bitch about this vigil and, even weirder, a staffie responds in the middle of the night saying that he will “handle this.”

This is beyond bizarre in a hysterically fearful way that I’ve come to expect from BIDdies but am just starting to get used to the City’s style of response to it.3 Really, I wonder what Bill Freaking Cody would do if I emailed him in the middle of the night the next time the damn BID was planning a meeting? “HELP, Bill Cody! Zillionaires are planning to get together and conspire against human beings in Highland Park!!” Would he get right back to me with a promise to “handle this”? Don’t think so.

Anyway, turn the page for more details from the emails and another hitherto unrevealed juicy tidbit about Bill Freaking Cody!
Continue reading Highland Park BID-Associated Facebook Stalkers Discovered That Community Activists Planned A Vigil For Lost Murals — Misty Freaking Iwatsu Reported Their Plans To Cedillo Staffers Terrazas, Rodriguez, And Bill Freaking Cody — Bill Freaking Cody To Misty Freaking Iwatsu: “I Will Handle This” — Same Bill Cody, By The Way, Who Is Way, Way Too Cozy With The Zillionaires For Someone Whose Job Is To Represent The Whole Community

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Highland Park BID Executive Director Misty Iwatsu Wanted To Apply For A Job In Culver City But Thought Culver City Is Part Of Los Angeles — Thank Goodness The Leaders Of Los Angeles Have Chosen To Appoint To Its Positions Of Influence And Power Persons Of Such Deep Wisdom And Knowledge About The Politics, Society, And History Of Our City!

Tonight I have for you another juicy morsel from the recently announced set of emails from the Highland Park BID. Our story begins with this email from the BID Consortium to all of its zombie-like followers who, it seems, include Misty Iwatsu. The email was a listing of job opportunities for the LA BIDdie community, ensubjectified “Announcement:::BID Opportunities” and containing, in pertinent part, the following likely little slab of puckey:

Culver City Arts District BID – Executive Director

The Culver City Arts District is looking to hire a part-time Executive Director to help manage the programs and Board. The position will only be about 20-25 hours a month ($45-50 an hour). They are hoping to find someone that can assist with the business outreach, events, board administration, oversee a marketing consultant and generally keep things humming along. It is fairly low-key – and relatively flexible – though the board is looking for a self-starter with exceptional communication skills that can keep things moving along without a lot of oversight.

Contact: Elaine Gerety Warner (elaine.warner@culvercitv.org)

And friend Misty Iwatsu evidently read that and thought something along the lines of “I’m gonna cut me a slice of that cake!” because, somewhat less than three days later, she sent this cheerful little missive off to City of Los Angeles employed BIDmeisterin Rita Moreno, whom so many of our BIDs rely on for her good sense and relative sanity,1 asking for some job-related info and, in the process, fatally revealing the fact that she thought Culver City was somehow a part of Los Angeles when everybody who’s actually paying attention knows it’s its own damn place, got their own damn mayor, their own damn city council, their own damn muni code. It’s just like a real city, only smaller!

As usual, turn the page for a transcription, more emails, and the usual mockery!
Continue reading Highland Park BID Executive Director Misty Iwatsu Wanted To Apply For A Job In Culver City But Thought Culver City Is Part Of Los Angeles — Thank Goodness The Leaders Of Los Angeles Have Chosen To Appoint To Its Positions Of Influence And Power Persons Of Such Deep Wisdom And Knowledge About The Politics, Society, And History Of Our City!

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Highland Park BID Accused Of Promoting Gentrification By Among Other Things Asking The City To Enforce Anti-Mural Laws And Selectively Promoting White-Serving Businesses — Board Of Directors Spy On Activists’ Facebook Comments — All Of Which Sheds Some Light On The Exceedly Underappreciated Facts That (A) Property-Based BIDs Do Not In Any Way Represent Businesses — They Represent Property Owners And Only Property Owners and (B) The City Is More Complicit In Gentrification Than Anyone Will Admit

One purpose of this post is to announce the availability of a bunch of emails from the Highland Park BID from 2017 and early 2018. The Highland Park BID is a new client1 of mine, and thus far they, in the person of their executive director Misty Iwatsu, have been exceedingly cooperative, for which I thank them very much.

There’s a lot of interesting material in there,2 and I’ll be writing about at least a few more items over the coming weeks, but most interesting of all, I think, is some material from November 2017 about antigentrification activists in Highland Park and their understanding of the BID’s role in social cleansing for the sake of financial gain.3

This story provides an excellent example of what pernicious gentrification looks like in Los Angeles, how it is covertly but significantly supported by the City government, and how property-based BIDs do not care a whit about the interests of business owners per se. They only care about the interests of the owners of commercial property who, in this City at least, are predominately white. Turn the page for all the details!
Continue reading Highland Park BID Accused Of Promoting Gentrification By Among Other Things Asking The City To Enforce Anti-Mural Laws And Selectively Promoting White-Serving Businesses — Board Of Directors Spy On Activists’ Facebook Comments — All Of Which Sheds Some Light On The Exceedly Underappreciated Facts That (A) Property-Based BIDs Do Not In Any Way Represent Businesses — They Represent Property Owners And Only Property Owners and (B) The City Is More Complicit In Gentrification Than Anyone Will Admit

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