Only days after some ACORN workers in Baltimore, San Bernardino, National City and elsewhere were caught on video giving unethical advice to a couple of conservative operatives posing as a prostitute and pimp, stenciled art work began appearing in Echo Park and elsewhere, declaring whatever building it was painted on as an “ACORN Funded Prostitution Zone.” The tagging had mild overtones of the “Obama Socialism” posters that briefly appeared in Hollywood and other places — neocon-captioned art work that seemed to mingle Heath Ledger's Joker character from The Dark Knight Batman film with Shepard Fairey's iconic “Obama Hope” images used during the 2008 presidential campaign. The rendezvous between art and politics became a little more obvious when the Eastsider L.A. published a picture of photographer Gary Leonard in front of Fairey's Echo Park studio — with the ACORN tag stenciled onto one of its walls. (ACORN stands for Association of Community
Organizations for Reform Now.)
While Fishbowl L.A. speculated last week “that Fairey or someone in his crew is behind the image [or] maybe it's just another local graffiti artist who wanted to share with his colleagues,” LAist later posted a denial from Fairey's Studio One. Part of that statement noted that “it is ironic that . . . the conservatives and right-wingers who called pro-Obama art propaganda and if it was posted publicly, they called it vandalism, are now vandalizing private property in their campaign against ACORN.”
It's an understatement to say that the ACORN teapot tempest is catnip for the American Right — it's more like a month's supply of crack. Those secretly recorded conversations and the month's other non-story, a White House conference call to artists associated with the National Endowment for the Arts, have been bundled into the Greatest Crime in History by the conservative blogosphere's malaria wards.
For what it's worth, the National City Police Department issued a
September 17 statement confirming ACORN claims that Juan Carlos Vera, the employee who
met with the masquerading couple, did contact the police about his encounter — and before the scandal broke.
“On August 20,
2009, an ACORN employee contacted his cousin, a
National City Police Detective, to ask him general advice regarding
information he had received about possible human smuggling,” the
statement says. “In
response, the Detective contacted a law enforcement officer serving on
federal task force that specifically deals with human smuggling.” The
press release ends by noting nothing came of the exchange with ACORN
because its employee called back to report the human-trafficking story
had been a ruse.
When contacted by the L.A. Weekly, National City's assistant police chief, Manuel
Rodriguez, confirmed his department had been contacted but that matter
ended with ACORN's admission that it had been hoaxed.
“Until,” Rodgriguez added, “all the news stories came out.”
National City PD Statement: