Tag Archives: Restorative Justice for the Arts

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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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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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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