As you may already know, in 2013, a baying, pitchfork-and-torch wielding, mob of Hollywood business owners and a few residents flipped the fuck out about the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition and tried to get the city of Los Angeles to outlaw the free sharing of food in public. In order to better understand the mindset of these people you may read this set of 2013 emails to/from Council District 13 on the matter. O’Farrell, as willing a servant of the power elite as his predecessor Eric, not only opined that the GWHFC had to go, but instructed his staff to boast about his attacks on common decency “via press or social media.”
The main theme of these mobbies is their own fear but, as Robin DiAngelo has sagely noted, “whites often confuse comfort with safety.” For instance, read Alexander Polinsky, son of Paula Greenfield, prime mover of the George Harrison memorial tree in Griffith Park, as he trembles in fear of “scary psychotic homeless that terrorize us…the worst kind of people, people we worked hard to avoid by buying nice homes and paying taxes.” Polinsky is even terrified of GWHFC’s fairly saintly organizer, Ted Landreth, who, according to Polinsky, “…likes to tell people he was a marine, implying that he is able to kill and be tough instead of actually being compassionate…”
Or see how Rick Howard, COO and VP of Occidental Entertainment, member of the board of directors of the Hollywood Media District BID, and master of delusio-inflammatory rhetoric, blamed the Food Coalition for a 2013 stabbing murder on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He warns all and sundry that obviously there will be many more murders if the feeding is allowed to continue:
Notably, not even the recent murder of a young woman on the Walk of Fame was sufficient to shake our local Council representatives into action, which is all the more disturbing since it is now known that the assailant formerly worked at the feeding program. … Was it not a matter of time before such a tragic event such as this took place? Must it happen again before someone acts?1
Not one for whom a rhetorical trope readily loses the freshness of its first bloom, Rick tells O’Farrell et al. in another email that
[the homeless] wander our streets and defecate, urinate, vomit, discard used hypodermic needles and condoms, set fire to trash bins, break into cars, harass and assault people—and now, as you know, one of the food line’s volunteers recently murdered a young woman over a dollar.
These guys are quite voluble, and there’s bunches more of this blethering in the emails. You can read it yourself if you care to. Sane people delete emails like this without reading, let alone acting on, their demands. But not Mitch O’Farrell!
For example, on July 12, 2013, his 12th day in office, Mitch O’Farrell emailed Marisol Salguero2 and indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon, at that time a CD13 field deputy and now, famously, Executive Director of the HMD BID, after yet another rant from Rick Howard:
Marisol, Steven, maybe you can catch everyone up on all that we have been focusing on BEFORE taking office. Also, please participate in this as necessary and make an impact as to our lines of communication, etc.
Tony, might there be an opportunity to communicate via press or social media that we have been more than proactive here? I am very proud of the work we have done and maybe we need to get out front that I have been leading the response on this.
By August 22, 2013, Mitch was emailing Marisol and his chief of staff, Jeanne Min with the stark message that “The food line really has to go.” Jeanne Min, no bleeding heart her own self, responded: “Agreed. We need to make sure it does not relocate to CD13.” Steven Whiddon, as indefatigably feckless as ever, had this to add: “Please let us know how we can help?” Perhaps the weirdly misplaced interrogative is meant to suggest humility? Nah…
As you may know, the whole mess led to Tom LaBonge, on September 18, 2013, introducing a motion that the City ban outdoor food sharing on the streets of Los Angeles. This was seconded by Mitch O’Farrell and subsequently led to massive and ultimately dispositive protests opposing it. Mitch backpedalled rapidly away from his position that the Food Coalition delenda est, implausibly claiming that he only supported the motion because he “…supported the right for the motion to go through the public process, and that is why my name appears as the second signature,” putting the lie to his earlier claim to be “very proud of the work we have done…I have been leading the response on this.” The motion has withered away without even going to committee. It will expire, almost certainly without further action, in October of this year. Are you gonna communicate that by “press or social media,” Mitch? Didn’t think so…
- Emphasis, sadly, in original document.
- Now Marisol Rodriguez.
Image of Councildude Mitch about to smack something hard is by LADOT Bike Blog, is available here from their Flickr stream, and is released under the CC BY-NC 2.0. Images of Rick Howard and Marisol Rodriguez are displayed via deep links and are therefore, a-OK copyrightwise according to the 9th Circuit.