Tag Archives: Muralismo

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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Gil Cedillo has a Private Email Account Through Which He Conducts City Business — And Our Friends At The Hollywood Sunshine Coalition Have Made A Request For The Emails! — Evidently CD1 Staff Believes There Is A CPRA Exemption Which Allows Them To Redact This Secret Email Address! — Pro-Tip — There Is Not

Man, it is top-secret Councilmember email address season in the City of Angels! We are in the midst of a veritable top-secret-email-address-a-palooza round here! First there were a bunch of politicians from somewhere east of San Bernardino, don’t exactly recall their names.1 And then there was Mitch O’Freaking Farrell, revealed by this very blog in a hard-hitting piece of hard-newsical investigative reportitude to be corresponding with all and sundry members of the 0.1% out of the public view using a Gmail account at mitchof13@gmail.com.2

And now, this very day, it’s my pleasure to reveal unto you that Gil Cedillo of CD1 is the second Councilmember that we know of using a secret Gmail address to conduct City business. This was discovered by accident, lurking in this email chain between famous Los Angeles artist Frank Romero, who CD1 has evidently hired to paint a mural in Highland Park, probably as an attempt to resolve their unbearable shame and guilt.3

The content of the emails is interesting. It seems that as part of the mural project Frank Romero rented a studio from Lincoln Heights supervillain Eric Ortiz, big-time Lincoln Heights storage honcho and, probably not coincidentally, vice president of the Lincoln Heights Industrial Zone BID. Then Eric Ortiz cheated Frank Romero somehow, which is only to be expected cause how does anyone think zillionaires get to be zillionaires, anyway?4 And then Frank Romero, who signs his emails “yours in the struggle,” asked Gil Cedillo to intercede.

We don’t know the end of the story, and we may never know the end of the story, but for our purposes, the real story is that Frank Romero sent his emails to Gil at gilcedillo45@gmail.com, which is the newly discovered secret email address! And then Gil Cedillo forwarded Frank Romero’s emails to his chief of staff at debby.kim@lacity.org for her to deal with, which proves that it’s City business being conducted. As you’re no doubt aware, in California it’s the content and purpose of emails that makes them public records rather than who owns the account. Thus these emails are public records.

And interestingly, Gil Cedillo’s staff redacted some instances of this newly-found secret email address but, fortunately, not all of them. This is discussed, with pictures, after the break. Also, our good friends at the Hollywood Sunshine Coalition, who are pushing hard on CD13 for copies of Mitch O’Farrell’s secret emails, have made a request to CD1 for these other secret emails. There is also a transcription of that after the break.
Continue reading Gil Cedillo has a Private Email Account Through Which He Conducts City Business — And Our Friends At The Hollywood Sunshine Coalition Have Made A Request For The Emails! — Evidently CD1 Staff Believes There Is A CPRA Exemption Which Allows Them To Redact This Secret Email Address! — Pro-Tip — There Is Not

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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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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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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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