A shadow is hanging over Los Angeles City Hall, as US attorneys and FBI agents complete their investigation into an international public corruption scandal that’s focused just outside the gleaming art deco tower, with the Chinese financed mega-projects that have transformed Downtown Los Angeles. The central figure in the probe is CD14 Councilman Jose Huizar. This forthcoming tour is, like the investigations, still a work in progress, to be launched when the public learns more about how Huizar and his “City family” cronies reshaped the city for the benefit of corporations, connected non-profits and others yet to be revealed.
The tour places the 21st Century scandal in the context of Los Angeles history and literature, drawing a golden thread from the City Hall “combination” that ran the vice rackets during Prohibition and inspired the cynical world view of Raymond Chandler’s detective hero Philip Marlowe and the muckraking ballot box advocacy of cafeteria king Clifford Clinton to today’s troubling PLUM Committee land use votes and the passionate activists, gadflies and preservationists who oppose them.
Key locations in Los Angeles history are illuminated through their role in past scandals and in Jose Huizar’s rise and fall, including The Sixth Street Viaduct (demolished), Pershing Square (altered), The Ambassador Hotel (demolished), The Broadway Theater District (demographic altered), The Vladeck Center (altered), Michigan-Soto Youth Center (demolished), Times Mirror Square (threatened), Bishop Mora Salesian High School, Wyvernwood (threatened), The Pickle Works (demolished) and Oceanwide (work halted).
Entwined with Jose Huizar’s cautionary political tale is that of the Los Angeles Times, as an institution whose independence was shaken by an advertorial scandal in the early days of the Downtown L.A. revival, whose growth was built upon corrupt land acquisitions and abuse of the public trust, and whose controversial 1973 William Pereira addition is central to the pay-for-play development scandal currently unfolding.
To learn more about our work advocating for historic preservation and better policy decisions in Jose Huizar’s CD14, see: The Times Mirror Square / Pereira in Peril campaign – Save Parker Center campaign – Pershing Square Restoration Society – Broadway on My Mind walking tour series – Save Angels Flight preservation campaign (ignored by Jose Huizar, solved by the Mayor’s Office).
Plus these Esotouric Newsletters & Blog Posts:
• Taking stock of the many LA landmarks lost to one-man wrecking ball Jose Huizar’s political ambitions, from the Ambassador Hotel to 6th Street Bridge (11/16/2018)
• Doing the Devil’s Work in the City of Angels: Jose Huizar is Still Pulling the Strings on Landmark and Land Use Decisions in Los Angeles (11/30/2018)
• Downtown Los Angeles Development, Jose Huizar and the Bishop Mora Salesian High School Slush Fund (4/12/2020)
• Arrest Day Newsletter: As Councilman Jose Huizar is busted on public corruption charges, here’s how Angelenos can claw back some of what he stole (6/23/2020)
• What happens in Vegas… provides the impetus for a sprawling public corruption investigation (8/7/2020)
• Is Jose Huizar’s Crony Art Gastelum Trying to Kill El Pino? (12/30/2020).
Press clips: Pile In: The José Huizar Corruption Scandal Is Going to Be a Tour (Los Angeles Magazine, 2/8/2019), Forget celebrity mansions, this tour would highlight LA councilman’s alleged misdeeds (The Real Deal, 2/11/2019), A Jose Huizar Scandal Tour of DTLA? Oh, Yes! (Commercial Observer, 2/17/2019), Do LA City Council Members Have Too Much Control Over Development Projects? with commentary by our Richard Schave (Spectrum News 1, 5/20/2020), Jose Huizar arrested! – Read the complaint (PDF file) USA vs. Jose Huizar (6/23/20).
If you’d like to be notified when we announce the debut of this “ripped from the headlines” true crime tour, use the form below.