Tag Archives: Highland Park

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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Mike Bonin Instructs City Planning And City Attorney To Study Possibility Of Using Zoning To Protect Local Independent Businesses In Venice With Goal Of Preserving Unique Neighborhood Character — Where Are Gil Cedillo With Highland Park And José Huizar With Boyle Heights In This Conversation? — There’s An Ungodly Amount Of Money At Stake In All Three Neighborhoods But Only In Venice Are Zillionaires Losing Their Community Character

UPDATE: This motion now has a council file number, which is CF 07-0629-S1. Note that this is a supplemental file and the original motion was by Bill Rosendahl (!) in 2007 to accomplish the same thing, but it died on the vine. The original file was CF 07-0629 and Rosendahl’s original motion is here.

Well, for God’s sake. Mike Bonin, councilcrumpet in charge of that formerly holiest of holy neighborhoods, the late lamented Venice, seems to have just noticed that independent businesses as opposed to chain stores can contribute a great deal to the character of the community. With that in mind he introduced this motion in Council this morning instructing the City Planning Department and the City Attorney to study the possibility of preventing chain stores from ruining everything even more than it’s already ruined by copying San Francisco’s anti-chain-store zoning laws.

And as much as I hate Mike Bonin, and as much as I don’t go to Venice any more because I’m not a freaking necrophiliac, I think these kind of laws are a good thing. The City of Los Angeles gives so much power to zillionaires and their BIDological sock puppets to shape the character of the neighborhoods they’ve colonized and almost no power at all to the residents. Super-restrictive zoning laws like the ones proposed here can take some of that power away from the property owners and shift it over to individual non-zillionaire residents who, after all, are the ones that made their neighborhoods desirable and so whose opinions really ought to be heeded.

So even though I’m sure that Mike Bonin’s motives are despicable, and even though I’m sure all his reasons are wrong, toxic, and repellent, nevertheless, even as a hundred monkeys with typewriters sometimes produce a coherent blog post,1 so it seems does Mike Bonin occasionally propose an at least superficially laudable motion. The big question though that this raises is where is Gil Cedillo? Where is José Huizar?2

Highland Park, mostly in CD1, and Boyle Heights in CD14, also two of the holiest holy neighborhoods of this grand and holy City, are being raped, killed, and eaten just as Venice was raped, killed, and eaten starting some thirty years ago. But it’s not too late to stop the damage there before it’s irreversible. Cedillo and Huizar have the opportunity to do what e.g. Ruth Galanter, on whose watch Venice started circling the drain down which it’s long since disappeared, was unwilling to do to save these irreplaceable neighborhoods with whose care they’ve been entrusted.

Why aren’t they right up there with Mike Bonin asking staff to study how to save Highland Park, how to save Boyle Heights? Why aren’t they seconding Bonin’s motion instead of Paul Freaking Krekorian? Rhetorical questions, of course. They’re not saving Highland Park or Boyle Heights because it’s worth too much money to destroy them. Because Bonin’s zillionaire Venice constituents will get what they want but the poor, the working class, residents of Highland Park and Boyle Heights have no money and therefore no leverage at all with their Councilmembers. In thirty years, no doubt, their successors will be proposing exactly this same kind of motion, too late to raise the reeking corpses. As usual there’s a transcription of the motion after the break.
Continue reading Mike Bonin Instructs City Planning And City Attorney To Study Possibility Of Using Zoning To Protect Local Independent Businesses In Venice With Goal Of Preserving Unique Neighborhood Character — Where Are Gil Cedillo With Highland Park And José Huizar With Boyle Heights In This Conversation? — There’s An Ungodly Amount Of Money At Stake In All Three Neighborhoods But Only In Venice Are Zillionaires Losing Their Community Character

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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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The Highland Park Heroines At Restorative Justice For The Arts Have Started A Petition Asking Gil Cedillo To Get Rid Of Bill Cody, The World’s Oldest Field Deputy, Because Of Him Being A Bully And A Harasser — Sign It Today, Friends!

Bill Freaking Cody, where to start? I mean, you’ve read about how the guy yells at everyone, about how the guy’s an inveterate enabler of white supremacy, how he and his BID buddies Facebook-stalk local activists, and so on.

Now read about how the guy allegedly harasses women in Highland Park, the very women he’s supposed to be helping his boss, Gil Cedillo, serve as a representative of Los Angeles City Government. In fact, do more than read about it, sign a Change.Org petition asking Gil Cedillo to fire the guy! This petition was started by two of the unsung Heroes of this City, the founders of Restorative Justice for the Arts. And turn the page for some excerpts.
Continue reading The Highland Park Heroines At Restorative Justice For The Arts Have Started A Petition Asking Gil Cedillo To Get Rid Of Bill Cody, The World’s Oldest Field Deputy, Because Of Him Being A Bully And A Harasser — Sign It Today, Friends!

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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 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 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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