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!!
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.
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!
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 client 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, 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.
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