a feature-length documentary film
  about Simon Rodia and the Watts
    Towers of South Central Los Angeles

by Edward Landler and Brad Byer

Latest News

December 1, 2018  

Dear Friends,

Once again, we must call upon you to join us in support of the Watts Towers Arts Center and its staff. 

You may already know that the Civil Service Commission has revoked WTAC Campus Director Rosie Lee Hooks’ suspension on charges that were proven false. However, as you will learn in the letter to Mayor Garcetti (below), the Department of Cultural Affairs has refused to apologize for the suspension, leaving in authority over the Campus the official who knowingly presented false testimony under oath!

While providing world-class services to the community and all the visitors to the Watts Towers, Ms. Hooks and her staff remain working for a department that appears intent to remove its director for her advocacy for Watts, instead of giving the site the greater resources it needs and deserves.  


1.      Put your name to the letter below (under “signed”)

2.      Make whatever changes in the letter you feel will best reflect your perspective.  

3.      Copy and paste in the Subject line: “Mr. Mayor, Concern about honesty in your administration”

4.      Copy and paste the Mayor’s email address in the TO line.

5.      Copy and paste all the other email addresses in the CC line

6.      Send!

Please help us protect the Watts Towers Arts Center Campus, its director and its staff so they can continue to work for the people of Watts, for the City of Los Angeles and for the true spirit of art embodied in Rodia’s Towers.

Thank you for your support!


Mail To:



Cc to: 

barbara.romero@lacity.org; ashley.stracke@lacity.org; kirkpatrick.tyler@lacity.org; nicole.serrano@lacity.org; edith.vega@lacity.org; mike.n.feuer@lacity.org; controller.galperin@lacity.org; joel.jacinto@lacity.org; mike.davis@lacity.org; joe.buscaino@lacity.org; david.ryu@lacity.org; councilmember.wesson@lacity.org; paul.koretz@lacity.org; councilmember.krekorian@lacity.org; councilmember.blumenfield@lacity.org; councilmember.englander@lacity.org; councilmember.price@lacity.org; councilmember.rodriguez@lacity.org; councilmember.martinez@lacity.org; councilmember.huizar@lacity.org; councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org; councilmember.bonin@lacity.org; councilmember.cedillo@lacity.org; cherie.wetheall@lacity.org; danielle.brazell@lacity.org; daniel.tarica@lacity.org; leslie.a.thomas@lacity.org; kelan10@att.net; markridley-thomas@bos.lacounty.gov; hamilton.cloud@mail.house.gov;

terry.nicholson@mail.house.gov; patricia.camacho@mail.house.gov; francisco.lopez@mail.house.gov; michelle.chambers@asm.ca.gov; holly.mitchell@sen.ca.gov; sawoods@parks.ca.gov; leslie.hartzell@parks.ca.gov; anne.bown.crawford@arts.ca.gov; wattstowerscac@gmail.com   


Subject: Mr. Mayor, Concern about honesty in your administration


Dear Mayor Garcetti,


A few months ago, those who support the Watts Towers Arts Center (WTAC) Campus wrote you to ask if you cared about Watts. Now I write because, at the October 16 meeting of the Mayor’s Office Watts Towers Arts Center Interdepartmental Task Force, the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) openly rejected honest engagement with Campus staff and community support groups.


The WTAC Campus and its staff provides exemplary and irreplaceable arts education and exhibitions to the Watts community and to visitors and scholars from all over the world who come to the Watts Towers, the only tourist site in Watts – Sabato Rodia’s “Nuestro Pueblo” – the unique masterwork of architectural sculpture standing as a beacon of freedom and initiative for all of us, no matter what our origin.


Instead of helping to provide the site with much-needed resources, the DCA under General Manager Danielle Brazell has put the Campus staff under unnecessary duress in a three-year effort to bring repeated charges of wrongdoing against Campus Director Rosie Lee Hooks, an internationally renowned and beloved arts educator and administrator. In defending Ms. Hooks against these attempts to diminish her professional and personal reputation, her union – the Engineers and Architects Association (EAA) – has succeeded in overturning all charges in three successful arbitrations, as well as in a recent decision made by the Civil Service Commission.


In response to this decision, Watts community support groups asked Ms. Brazell to apologize for suspending Ms. Hooks in April, 2018, for not following appropriate procedures in having a mural painted of Charles Mingus in 2017 on a Campus building named for the jazz giant. In July, 2018, DCA Director of Community Arts Leslie Thomas knowingly testified falsely at Ms. Hooks’ appeals hearing that she had been informed of public art procedures at a May 5, 2016, meeting. On September 13, 2018, the Civil Service Commission revoked Ms. Hooks’ three-week suspension after being presented with irrefutable documentation that she was in transit to South Africa at the time of that meeting. Further repudiating Mr. Thomas’ trumped up basis for DCA’s case, it was shown that Ms. Hooks had never received formal notice about the new procedures. One commissioner called the entire case “ridiculous and a waste of time” and the EAA has issued a formal complaint to Ms. Brazell.  


On October 16, at the Mayor’s Office WTAC Interdepartmental Task Force meeting – before a City Commissioner, representatives of your office, other city departments and community groups – MS. BRAZELL REFUSED TO APOLOGIZE FOR MS. HOOKS’ SUSPENSION OR TO REMOVE MR. THOMAS FROM HIS SUPERVISORY DUTIES OVER THE WTAC CAMPUS… “IN ACCORDANCE,” she said, “WITH MY OATH TO UPHOLD THE LOS ANGELES CITY CHARTER.” With disrespect to Watts, dismissing community concerns and belying her own understanding of the City Charter, Ms. Brazell refused to even acknowledge the official findings of the Civil Service Commission or the ethical questions DCA’s actions have raised. This is entirely unacceptable.  


I stand with the Friends of the WTAC, the Watts Towers Community Action Council, the Parents of the WTAC Campus, the Watts/Century Latino Organization, the Watts Towers Common Ground Initiative and the Watts Neighborhood Council in demanding that Ms. Brazell recognize her responsibility in suspending Ms. Hooks on the basis of a falsehood, no matter whether through intention, ignorance or incompetence. She must also begin to relieve the undue stress upon WTAC staff by removing Mr. Thomas from all authority over the site.


Mr. Mayor, please ensure your entire constituency that the actions and decisions made by the officials of your administration are performed in accord with the ethical principles of responsible governmental leadership. Dishonesty and disrespect have no place in public policy.





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