Tag Archives: Highland Park BID

Stuart Rapeport — Vice President Of The North Figueroa Association — Told Wendy Newell Of The Boulevard Sentinel That The Business Improvement District He Helps Run Did Not Paint Over Any Murals In Highland Park — But The BID Did Paint Over The Murals — So Is Stuart Rapeport A Liar Or Is He Asleep On The Job? — Enquiring Minds Wanna Know, Stuart!!

So remember how some murals got painted over in Highland Park in 2017 and a lot of people were pretty sure that the Highland Park BID was responsible for their destruction but there wasn’t really any proof and then in June 2018 LA Magazine wrote a story about it and, inspired by that, I was able to get some emails from the Department of Cultural Affairs that demonstrated conclusively that the BID did in fact paint over the murals?

Well, a couple of recently obtained emails between Wendy Newell of the Boulevard Sentinel and some staffies at CD1 show that she was also looking into this matter as early as April 2018, ultimately leading to this April 29, 2018 story. As part of her investigation Newell contacted Stuart Rapeport, vice president of the North Figueroa Association, which is the owners’ association for the Highland Park BID, and he told her that the murals had been painted over by the City of Los Angeles rather than his BID buddies. Of course, we now know that this is not true.

The murals were in fact painted over by the Highland Park BID with the City’s explicit permission. So what’s the explanation for Stuart Rapeport’s denial, then? I can only think of two plausible stories. Maybe he’s a liar. This wouldn’t surprise any Los Angeles BIDologists. These BIDdies all lie. Or maybe even though he’s the vice president he nevertheless doesn’t have the first clue what his BID is doing with the money he and his fellow Board members have been entrusted with. Also this wouldn’t surprise. Boards of directors are meant to oversee the expenditure of the compulsory assessments, but often they don’t oversee anything, give their staff complete license to do whatever, and mostly just show up to Board meetings for the free coffee.

We’re probably never going to know which scenario explains Stuart Rapeport’s false statements to Wendy Newell, but neither looks good for him. Also not a surprise. Very little of what BIDdies do looks good for them when the public is looking. Turn the page for a transcription of the two emails.
Continue reading Stuart Rapeport — Vice President Of The North Figueroa Association — Told Wendy Newell Of The Boulevard Sentinel That The Business Improvement District He Helps Run Did Not Paint Over Any Murals In Highland Park — But The BID Did Paint Over The Murals — So Is Stuart Rapeport A Liar Or Is He Asleep On The Job? — Enquiring Minds Wanna Know, Stuart!!

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As Previously Reported — On May 15, 2018 Bill Cody, The World’s Oldest Field Deputy, Told Jesse Rosas And The Highland Park Business Improvement District That Gil Cedillo Had Hired Barrio Planners To Help Displaced Small Businesses — But Newly Obtained Emails Reveal That On May 20, 2018 Bill Cody Emailed Barrio Planners And Asked Them To Help The Businesses — Bill Cody, We Wouldn’t Want To Accuse You Of Having Lied On May 15, Friend — Probably It Seemed True While You Were Saying It — And Then You Kinda Made It Be True Later — So It’s Kinda OK I Guess

Anyone who’s paying attention to Los Angeles politics recently knows about the hipster apocalypse presently unfolding in Highland Park. I had occasion yesterday morning to walk south on Figueroa Street this morning from Avenue 61 to Avenue 501 and it’s basically like hipster Jim Crow, with businesses duplicated on every block and divided starkly along racial lines. A hipster tonsorial salon2 next to a Latino barber, hipster clothing next to work shoes or ropas segundas, hipster cold-press juice bars next to stands selling jugos naturales, and so on.

Weirdest of all is the situation with coffee places. Over and over and over again one sees a hipster coffee place full of tattooed young white people right next to a panaderia full of brown people. Both places serve coffee and baked goods and yet somehow there’s evidently no way that one place can satisfy both crowds. It makes absolutely no sense to me, probably not to any sane people.3 These coffee places, three or four to the block, are a stark and clear symbol of the holocaust that so-called legacy businesses along Figueroa Street are undergoing and which those along York Boulevard have already undergone baby gone.

And because hipster-serving establishments charge prices that are many times the prices the older businesses can sustain, they can afford rents high enough to drive the older places out of business. And the landlords are thrilled by this, of course, because they pocket the extra money with extra outlay of neither capital nor labor on their part. It’s a zillionaire’s wet dream.4 And it’s also not a mystery. It’s well-covered in the press. Rents go up and very soon after the vultures start feathering their nests.

And because it’s not a mystery, and because it’s a subject of deep import to many constituents in CD1, it’s entirely fitting and proper that residents would share their concern with their Council staffers and entirely fitting and proper that said Council staffers would respond. And we have already seen that something like this happened with the world’s oldest field deputy, Bill Cody, the crankiest and most bellicose flunky ever to rep Gil Cedillo or, for that matter, any other Councilmember in the entire damn history of Los Angeles.

At the May 15 meeting of the North Figueroa Association, which is the property owners’ association for the infamous Highland Park BID, he was questioned pretty intensely by Jesse Rosas about this very issue and responded in a rather mealy-mouthed fashion by claiming that his boss, Gil Cedillo, was taking care of it by hiring some kind of a firm, known as Barrio Planners, that presumably knows how to take care of such things:

And I’m always worried about that. Oh, one more thing. We have Barrio Planners, who’s been helping a lot of the local businesses to try to find placement for some of the ones who, um, … a couple of properties have changed situations and … I have been working with all those businesses, I [unintelligible] them together with Barrio Planners, they’ll work on that issue, we pay them to do that. So, we’re very, very concerned about that and we’ve been working tirelessly on that issue.

And since that day, more than five months ago at this point, my compatriots and I have been trying to figure out exactly what the heck Bill Freaking Cody was talking about. And because the CPRA mill grinds slowly we didn’t get much action for quite a while, but because the CPRA mill does grind, CD1 finally handed over some emails. You can read all of them here on Archive.Org, and turn the page for selections that reveal that despite the good game talked by Bill Cody, the Council District’s intervention via Barrio Planners on behalf of these threatened businesses seems to have been quite minimal and therefore the subject of wild overhyping by Bill Cody when e.g. he claims that they have “been working tirelessly on that issue.”
Continue reading As Previously Reported — On May 15, 2018 Bill Cody, The World’s Oldest Field Deputy, Told Jesse Rosas And The Highland Park Business Improvement District That Gil Cedillo Had Hired Barrio Planners To Help Displaced Small Businesses — But Newly Obtained Emails Reveal That On May 20, 2018 Bill Cody Emailed Barrio Planners And Asked Them To Help The Businesses — Bill Cody, We Wouldn’t Want To Accuse You Of Having Lied On May 15, Friend — Probably It Seemed True While You Were Saying It — And Then You Kinda Made It Be True Later — So It’s Kinda OK I Guess

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North Figueroa Association Establishes Two Putatively Ad Hoc Committees In Transparent Attempt To Evade Public Scrutiny — It’s Not Clear That Their Brown Act Loophole Theory Is Correct — And They Violated The Brown Act While Forming The Committees — Misty Iwatsu Explains BID Renewal Process To A Bunch Of Ignorant Board Members — Gina Alza Flips The Freakin’ Frick Out When She Learns Misty Iwatsu Won’t Do All The Work — Screams That She Has A Damn Job Already And So Do All The Other Board Members — Take That, Misty!

Oh, for God’s sake! Yesterday the freaking North Figueroa Association called a special meeting.1 As always, I zooped out there on the good old 81 and videotaped the whole damn thing, and you can watch it here on YouTube or here on Archive.Org as you prefer. Here’s the agenda that Misty Iwatsu distributed. There are only two items of business on there, which are:

a. Highland Park BID- Committee formed
b. Personnel- Employee Contract renewal- Committee formed

What’s going on here, it’s pretty clear, is that the NFA can’t stand the scrutiny they’ve been under lately, what with ongoing activism related to their illegal destruction of public art, their über-creepazoidal Facebook stalking of people, their weirdo symbiotic relationship with Cedillo staffer Bill Cody, the world’s oldest field deputy, who, e.g., “handles” the BID’s enemies list, their slavering white supremacy and unconvincing denial thereof, their unprovoked attacks on street vendors, and so on.

And so, instead of reforming their outlaw ways like sane people would do, they’ve taken to canceling their regular meetings in a pathetic attempt to avoid mockery. But they do still have to get some business done, like e.g. Misty Iwatsu’s contract seems to be expiring or already gone, and they have to handle the damn BID renewal.2 Hence, like so many BIDs around the City who can’t stand the heat but won’t get out of the damn kitchen, they’ve decided to cower behind a putative loophole in the Brown Act,3

And not only that, but these BIDdies are so astoundingly clownish that in this ten minute meeting they managed not only to violate the Brown Act about one and a half times,4 but also board member Gina Alza had a weird tantrum about how Misty Iwatsu ought to do all the outreach work for their BID renewal because the board members actually have jobs unlike, I guess, Misty Iwatsu? Anyway, turn the page for the details, both sordid and tedious, which is just how BIDology rolls, innit?
Continue reading North Figueroa Association Establishes Two Putatively Ad Hoc Committees In Transparent Attempt To Evade Public Scrutiny — It’s Not Clear That Their Brown Act Loophole Theory Is Correct — And They Violated The Brown Act While Forming The Committees — Misty Iwatsu Explains BID Renewal Process To A Bunch Of Ignorant Board Members — Gina Alza Flips The Freakin’ Frick Out When She Learns Misty Iwatsu Won’t Do All The Work — Screams That She Has A Damn Job Already And So Do All The Other Board Members — Take That, Misty!

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Proof That The North Figueroa Association Ordered The Destruction Of Two Highland Park Murals In 2017

There have been highly plausible but nevertheless unconfirmed rumors floating around the City for a while now that the North Figueroa Association, which administers the Highland Park BID, was responsible for the destruction of murals in Highland Park. Now, at long last, I have obtained definitive proof of this connection.

After reading last week’s article on the controversy in LA Magazine, a friend of this blog asked Felicia Filer of the Department of Cultural Affairs for relevant emails. And this evening she came through in a big, big way. Read the whole thing for yourself right here, and turn the page for transcriptions. The short version is that, in the words of Cedillo staffer Conrado Terrazas, there were:

… two murals we discussed that the North Figueroa Association would like to paint out because they have graffiti.

And after discussion with appropriate City staff, Conrado Terrazas actually gave Misty Iwatsu the go-ahead to destroy the murals:

Hi Yami,

Thank you for your follow up on this. Misty Iwatsu with the Business Improvement District, aka North Figueroa Association will paint out the walls where these two murals are located.

Hi Misty,

It is fine for your staff to paint out these illegal murals on City Property.

Regards,.
Conrado Terrazas

Here are the two murals!!


As I said, turn the page for transcriptions!
Continue reading Proof That The North Figueroa Association Ordered The Destruction Of Two Highland Park Murals In 2017

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Highland Park Mural Controversy Covered In LA Magazine! — City Staffer Felicia Filer Confirms In Print For The First Time That The Highland Park BID AKA The North Figueroa Association Complained About The Mural And Removed It! — Congrats All Around To Fearless And Revolutionary HLP Art Activists Who Are Working Tirelessly To Publicize And Repair The Damage Done By This Damnable BID!

Yesterday LA Magazine published an excellent and comprehensive story about the Highland Park mural controversy. The single most important element of this singularly important article is the fact that for the first time the City of Los Angeles, in the person of Cultural Affairs staffer Felicia Filer, acknowledged that the Highland Park BID was in fact behind the illegal, immoral removal of John Zender Estrada‘s masterpiece of a mural:

Felicia Filer, public art director at the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, says a member of the Highland Park Business Improvement District (BID) filed a complaint with the city and was granted permission to paint over the wall. It was not registered with the department. “I do not know why the BID person took that action as the wall has been used as a graffiti yard since 1993,” Filer wrote in email.

This confirms already-believable allegations against the damnable BID by local art activists, including Restorative Justice for the Arts and Mando Medina, who have been the subject of exceedingly creepy surveillance and stalking by both BID board members and ick-stick City staffer Bill Cody, the world’s oldest field deputy.1

So please read the article, and turn the page for another excerpt, featuring a quote from Brenda Perez, an incomparable hero of this City as well as being one of the motivating forces behind Restorative Justice for the Arts.
Continue reading Highland Park Mural Controversy Covered In LA Magazine! — City Staffer Felicia Filer Confirms In Print For The First Time That The Highland Park BID AKA The North Figueroa Association Complained About The Mural And Removed It! — Congrats All Around To Fearless And Revolutionary HLP Art Activists Who Are Working Tirelessly To Publicize And Repair The Damage Done By This Damnable BID!

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Yesterday At The Arts District — Just A Perfectly Ordinary Average BID Board Meeting — Fear, Rumor, And Other Mongerings — Zillionaires Joking About How To Wheedle More Valuable Concessions Out Of The City — And The Familiar But Nevertheless Still Astonishing Hatred Of Transparency

Yesterday I paid my first visit to the Arts District BID board of directors. You can find the video here on YouTube and here on Archive.Org. Now, this BID is a fascinating and unique BIDdological case study due to its 2011 dissolution and entirely anomalous re-establishment in 2012, which involved creepy unethical subterfuge by City BID boss Miranda Paster and underhanded interventions by the whole weirdo panoply of the Downtown zillionaire power elite including, but never ever limited to, the zillion dollar woman herself.

But none of that rich and textured1 history was on display yesterday. No cracking of the bones of the homeless to greedily suck their marrow, no complaining about the skin color of the neighborhood’s non-zillionaires, no comparing groups of non-white people to caged animals. In short, none of the spectacularly white supremacist fireworks which sometimes burst forth to dazzle and bemuse sane onlookers.2

As I said, it was a quite ordinary BID meeting. But as ordinary as it was, it nevertheless displayed a wide variety of low-key instances of the usual BIDdie tropes. We had zillionaires laughing about how the City is not only able but willing to overturn any given development restriction on request. We had zillionaire anxiety about my filming, this time manifesting in a board member quietly confronting me on camera and then checking with the Arts District’s twittery little twerp of an Executive Director, Miguel Vargas.3

We had zillionaires casually going off-agenda, poised to violate the Brown Act, be pulled back from the brink by an alert colleague. We had, as I said, the usual zillionaire jive. And it’s nevertheless fascinating. Turn the page to links and brief transcriptions of a few moments that I found worth noting.
Continue reading Yesterday At The Arts District — Just A Perfectly Ordinary Average BID Board Meeting — Fear, Rumor, And Other Mongerings — Zillionaires Joking About How To Wheedle More Valuable Concessions Out Of The City — And The Familiar But Nevertheless Still Astonishing Hatred Of Transparency

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Annals Of LAPD Spying — Sometimes Protesters Don’t Get Permission From The Cops For Their Protests — And Sometimes The Cops “Monitor” Social Media To Uncover Protesters’ Plans — And Sometimes The Cops Share This Information With The Department Of Homeland Security — Not To Mention With Business Improvement Districts — Who Are No Strangers To Creepy-Ass Social Media Spying Themselves — So Watch What You Say On Facebook, Friends, If You Don’t Want A Bunch Of Unanticipated Cops Showing Up!

This is just a short note to discuss this email chain, which I recently received from the Historic Core BID as part of the fruits of a public records act request.1 It seems that last year, some group called Code Pink was planning a protest in Pershing Square on April 29, 20172 and they did not ask the permission of the LAPD. Even more interestingly it seems that the LAPD has officers dedicated to “monitoring social media” who track this kind of thing.

And one of them, James Baker, emailed a bunch of his fellow polices on April 22, 2017, to fill them in on the upcoming reign of anarchy Downtown. He mentioned explicitly that Code Pink was not cooperating with the LAPD, that there was no discussion of any civil disobedience, and that his officers would “continue to monitor social media for updates.”

Also interesting is the fact that four of the recipients were with the Department of Homeland Security.3 Another was Senior Lead Officer Michael Flanagan, who turned around and emailed batty little fusspot Blair Besten of the Historic Core BID, Brian Raboin of the Downtown Center BID, and Banyon Hutter of Allied Universal Security.

The record doesn’t show what,if anything, the BIDs did with the information, but it’s worth keeping in mind that this is happening. If you’re an activist, if you use social media to coordinate your events, don’t forget that the cops are reading it too, the BIDs are reading it, BID security is reading it, and they’re all coordinating with each other. Plan accordingly. Turn the page for transcriptions of the whole email chain and some additional discussion.
Continue reading Annals Of LAPD Spying — Sometimes Protesters Don’t Get Permission From The Cops For Their Protests — And Sometimes The Cops “Monitor” Social Media To Uncover Protesters’ Plans — And Sometimes The Cops Share This Information With The Department Of Homeland Security — Not To Mention With Business Improvement Districts — Who Are No Strangers To Creepy-Ass Social Media Spying Themselves — So Watch What You Say On Facebook, Friends, If You Don’t Want A Bunch Of Unanticipated Cops Showing Up!

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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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