Who were those masked men and women?
That's been the question of the week in West Hollywood, where some 20 people, wearing masks of longtime City Council members John Heilman and Abbe Land, and holding placards that read such things as "25 years is enough" (a reference to Heilman's reign over West Hollywood politics) and "No one voted for Lindsey" (a reference to the political appointment, rather than the democratic election, of Councilwoman Lindsey Horvath), stood up in silent protest during a City Council meeting at the West Hollywood Auditorium on Monday night.
Heilman was taking an oath to be the new mayor at the time of the defiant silence, and the protesters clearly thought he and Land needed to be voted out of office.
But few people in the eerily quiet auditorium knew who organized the highly-theatrical demonstration ... until now.
In an email to L.A. Weekly, West Hollywood residents Mito Aviles and ChadMichael Morrisette, a gay couple who made national headlines for hanging a Sarah Palin mannequin from their roof, are taking full responsibility for, what they term, an "art attack."
"We had about 20 protesters," writes Aviles, "consisting of residents
and friends of West Hollywood, who are fed up with the state of the city."
Aviles continues, "The 'art attack' was to protest specific council members: John Heilman, Abbe Land, and Lindsey Horvath; not because
who they are as people, but rather what their politics are as a whole. Having one who has been in office for over 25 years, another one who
is (real estate) development hungry, and one who was never elected, (it) stirs up a lot
of people in the city."
Aviles also writes that a recent L.A. Weekly
cover story, titled "West Follywood: How a progressive town founded
on renters' rights and diversity ended up gridlocked, angry and
elitist," provided some "inspiration."
Aviles adds that he's now planning to run for West Hollywood City Council in 2011, when Heilman, Land, and Horvath will be up for re-election.
"New leadership and accountability need to take place," Aviles writes. "The art attack was not directly for my campaign,
but essentially to let the City Council know: Enough is enough, we as
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residents of this city are aware of what is going on and we are
If the art attack is any indication, Aviles' run for elected office should be a very interesting thing to watch.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at email@example.com.