Tag Archives: Highland Park BID

In April 2017 Cedillo Minion Bill Cody Told Yami Duarte Of The Department Of Cultural Affairs About CD1’s Plans For That Frank Romero Mural — And She Told Cody That There Were Also Plans For A Mural By Zender On The Same Wall — And The Procedure In That Case Was To Present Both Murals To The Cultural Affairs Commission At A Public Hearing — And He Told Duarte That Cedillo Wouldn’t Want To Do It That Way — It Seems That Rules And Procedures Are For Other People In Cedillo’s And Cody’s CD1 — Especially If They Interfere With Cody’s Mad Thirst For Vengeance

Last week I wrote about how CD1 staffer Bill Cody used his position with the City to revenge himself against Highland Park community art activists Brenda Perez and Yaya Castillo by trying to get City funding pulled from a mural because a compatriot of theirs, muralist John Zender, was involved in the project. That happened in June 2018, and the backstory is well-summarized in that post, so I won’t repeat it here. The very short version is that Bill Cody was pushing a mural by Frank Romero of Los Four at least in part to silence community agitation at the destruction of a mural by Zender at the behest of the reprehensible Highland Park Business Improvement District.

Well, it turns out that in April 2018, when Cody was beginning the process of organizing Frank Romero’s new pro-Olympics mural, there was also a project by Zender proposed for the same City-owned wall. It turns out that the Cultural Affairs Commission, which must approve murals on City property,1 has a process in place to resolve just this kind of situation. Which they would have to have, of course, because the City property belongs to everyone. If more than one artist wants to put a mural somewhere there has to be a fair method of choosing.

Accordingly, Yami Duarte of the Department of Cultural Affairs told Bill Cody that all murals on City property must be approved by the CAC and that the DCA “Director is apprised that there may be another mural proposal for the same location by artist Mr. John Zender Estrada, and recommends that both projects be presented side by side to the Commission.” By the way, I don’t think that it has been previously reported that Zender had plans for a mural where Romero’s mural was going to be painted. The story is told in this brief email conversation, of which there is a complete transcription after the break.2

But, as we’ve seen, Cody really had it in for Zender, so he wasn’t having that. And he wasn’t owning his not having it either, as he attributed his unwillingness to follow the rules and let the CAC decide which mural ought to be placed on the wall to Gil Cedillo.3 Thus spake Bill Cody: “I do not think the Councilmember will want to do it that way and I think we should have a conversation about this.” Of course, the vengeful Cody doesn’t want to do anything any way that might result in some democratically empowered body such as the CAC choosing something other than what he had planned, which is keeping Zender’s work off walls in Highland Park. And of course he invokes Cedillo, the source of his power.

Cody evidently had his way with the mural, although the details are still unknown. For whatever reason Romero’s mural didn’t come up before the CAC until its January 9, 2019 meeting. Take a look at the agenda for yourself and notice that there’s nothing at all about Zender on there. And that’s the story. Sure, it’s more low key than all that lurid nonsense about Cody punishing constituents for attacking his office on Facebook, but it’s just as corrosive of democratic principles. So turn the page for a transcription and also to take a look at how the Department of Cultural Affairs thinks it’s somehow appropriate to redact the name and email address of City staffer Rebeca Guerrero.4 I asked them why, but they declined to respond.
Continue reading In April 2017 Cedillo Minion Bill Cody Told Yami Duarte Of The Department Of Cultural Affairs About CD1’s Plans For That Frank Romero Mural — And She Told Cody That There Were Also Plans For A Mural By Zender On The Same Wall — And The Procedure In That Case Was To Present Both Murals To The Cultural Affairs Commission At A Public Hearing — And He Told Duarte That Cedillo Wouldn’t Want To Do It That Way — It Seems That Rules And Procedures Are For Other People In Cedillo’s And Cody’s CD1 — Especially If They Interfere With Cody’s Mad Thirst For Vengeance

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Weirdo Cedillo Staffer Bill Cody Tried To Withhold Money From A City-Funded Highland Park Mural Because Renowned Highland Park Muralist John Zender Estrada Was Involved — On The Basis Of A Bizarre Grudge Against HLP Heroines Yaya Castillo And Brenda Perez — Like The Freaking Mural Mafia Of CD1 — Cody: “We’re Not Really Big On Giving Grants To Folks Who Are Involved With People Who Have Been Attacking The Council Office On Social Media”

This Highland Park mural story gets more convoluted and appalling by the day. You’ll recall that in concert with the Highland Park Business Improvement District Cedillo staffer Bill Cody worked with the Department of Cultural Affairs to allow the BID to destroy two well-loved murals in Highland Park. One of these was by renowned HLP muralist John Zender.

This episode led to community protests, organized by among others HLP heroes and heroines Brenda Perez, Yaya Castillo, and Mando Medina, who ended up being surveilled and stalked by Cody, as well as the establishment of radical pro-mural/anti-gentrification group Restorative Justice for the Arts by Perez. Oh, and did I mention this petition calling Bill Cody out for his serially harassing ways?

Cody also has a long-stewing grievance against Perez, Castillo, and Medina, based on something to do with Chicken Boy, Amy Inouye, and Stuart Rapeport, that I do not understand and it really seems like he made it all up, which is not uncharacteristic of the fellow. So there’s a lot of tension swirling around HLP these days with respect to murals and the people involved with them.

And then there’s Kathy Gallegos, executive director of HLP art scene fixture Avenue 50 Studio. The studio accepts funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs, and apparently one thing that Gallegos does with the money is arrange for murals to be painted around HLP. And it seems that in June 2018 Gallegos had a contract with DCA to organize a mural by Anthony Ortega and some of the funds were provided by CD1, with Bill Cody staffing the matter.1 The story is told in this email conversation of which, as always, there is a transcription after the break.

But then Cody discovered that Gallegos had subcontracted with Zender, along with a number of other respected HLP artists. And Cody flipped out and sent an at-the-mouth-frothing email to Yami Duarte and Felicia Filer of DCA interrogating them on this development, demanding that Zender be removed from the project and threatening to withdraw CD1’s funding. Why? Because Zender was known to be friendly with Castillo and Perez and, according to Cody:

The grant was approved by myself and I never would have involved the parties that have been attacking the local constituents. I am told Brenda Perez and Yaya Castillo have been involved and at this point I would like the contract redone with John’s name removed for many, many reasons.

And Cody made it very clear that he views CD1’s cultural funding as a way to reward his friends and punish his enemies:

We’re not really big on giving grants to folks who are involved with people who have been attacking the Council Office on Social Media. We’ll definitely want to make sure that does not happen in the future.

And the trouble with this? There are so many troubles. [A]ttacking the Council Office on Social Media is what we do in America. It’s none of Cody’s damn business who’s attacking the Council Office. And if CD1 is going to be giving out grants, they’re certainly not allowed to choose the recipients based on their political opinions. That’s just a straight-up violation of the First Amendment.

And it’s a betrayal of the public trust. CD1 doesn’t have all that money so their staffers can play favorites and hand it out to their smoochy-face friendsy-wendsies. They have it so that they can keep things running and make the City better. If that means following the rules and paying people who attack the Council Office on social media, well, that’s the kind of thing that grownups have to do sometimes.

And not only is this illegal, not only is it a betrayal, not only is it immature, but like everything about Bill Cody, it’s also stupid in the kind of floridly bizarre way that’s essentially the guy’s signature at this point. For reasons only he understands Cedillo hasn’t fired the guy for being a serial harasser, but maybe he’ll fire him for making him look like such a chump. In any case, turn the page for transcriptions of the emails.
Continue reading Weirdo Cedillo Staffer Bill Cody Tried To Withhold Money From A City-Funded Highland Park Mural Because Renowned Highland Park Muralist John Zender Estrada Was Involved — On The Basis Of A Bizarre Grudge Against HLP Heroines Yaya Castillo And Brenda Perez — Like The Freaking Mural Mafia Of CD1 — Cody: “We’re Not Really Big On Giving Grants To Folks Who Are Involved With People Who Have Been Attacking The Council Office On Social Media”

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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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