Mayor’s son learns a lesson in neighborhood politics & patience

2010 Mt Washington murals/Matthew Smith

It’s been several years since Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has called Mount Washington home. But another Villaraigosa, Antonio Villaraigosa, Jr., the son of the mayor, has found himself in the middle of a Mount Washington debate over a proposed mural. Villaraigosa is part of a group of artists and friends who are seeking to paint a mural in honor of  Jack Rohman, a 21-year-old Mount Washington resident who committed suicide earlier this year. It was Rohman and his friends who last year painted a series of Mount Washington murals (pictured) that amused as well as annoyed many residents.  On Monday, Villaraigosa, Jr., who caused in a stir over a 2007 Facebook posting, and others in his group appeared before the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council, which includes Mount Washington, to seek a letter of support for the mural, according to a story in Patch.  The artists said the tribute to Rohman would look nothing like last year’ s murals but some members of the audience were not pleased:

The Mount Washington community offers a sense of peace and quiet, and a retreat from the sights and sounds that assault our senses,” said Mount Washington resident Ruth Mehringer. “It’s a visual intrusion; it’s in your face no matter what.”

After an “hour long debate about policy and procedure,”  the council narrowly voted to approve a letter in support of the Rohman mural.  But one of the council members said she would hold off sending the letter to the city’s Cultural Affairs Department, which reviews public art proposals, until Mount Washington residents had more time to review the proposal.  The debate and delay did not bother Villaraigosa Jr., who told Patch:

“This was not a huge blow to us. The planning is going to continue. We’re still crafting the creative vision for the art,” he said. “What we saw tonight was some procedural wrangling.”

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  1. I read the Patch article also and something that wasn’t brought up is what will be done with the murals if they are hit by graffiti ‘artists’. Someone commented that the blank walls had been tagged, and a mural was better than graffiti.
    If the murals are done, who will be responsible for maintaining them?
    I can sympathise with both sides: Part of me doesn’t want what may be someone else’s idea of desirable public art and another part says why not try to beautify a blank wall….
    What about having a show (as done with the mini-park to be created in Silver Lake with images of the proposed art work displayed at both Mt Wash Assn, Mt Wash Homeowners Assn, maybe even a Mt Wash school/PTA gathering?

    While I read several of the Yahoo Forums for Mt Wash/Highland Park & ASNC areas I know not everyone does. Nor do they belong to the MWA or MWHA…I think often people read about some events here (Eastsider LA) first because it’s less territorial and more objective [and great links!].
    So if they want to persuade the community, I think they need to do more community outreach. I hope the info you’ve posted here helps with that.

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