But every case I know of has involved the local Council District. This isn’t just my imagination, either. It’s reflected in these BID formation guidelines, published by the Los Angeles City Clerk‘s BID office, which state unequivocally that the BID formation process begins when: An individual, or a group of individuals (“proponent group”), or a Councilmember, desires to investigate the possibility of establishing a BID in a given area.
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, the City agency that exists seemingly only to boss about Neighborhood Councils, although no one really knows whether or not they have the authority to do that, is pretty much the embodiment of evil.1 Just look at our tag archive for Grayce Liu to see the pernicious role these people played in the Skid Row Neighborhood Council debacle.
Grayce Liu was at the forefront of the mishandling of the SRNC appeal process, she played a major role in the use of online voting to torpedo the SRNC election, and so on. And it’s not all about Skid Row. DONE has been involved in controversy after controversy, all of them relating to their habit of undermining the power, such as it is, of the City’s neighborhood councils. And to date they have been able to do this in a fairly covert manner. No one has really been paying much attention.
I’m not a reporter, and I don’t seek out news, but once in a while, like the hog in the adage, I stumble across what seems to my amateur sensibilities to be an actual news story. And that’s exactly what happened this morning at the February Board meeting of the Central City East Association when LAPD Deputy Chief Robert Arcos, in response to a characteristically sycophantic question from CCEA Executive Directrix Estela Lopez, announced that he will be applying to replace soon-to-be-retired Charlie Beck as chief of the LAPD.
In the high and far off times, O best beloved, there was a candidate for Los Angeles City Council District 9, endorsed by the L.A. Times in 2013 and a favorite of both Bernard Parks and Jan Perry. Well, nothing works out like one expects in this mean old world and in these latter days our hero, whose name, by the way, is David Anthony Roberts, rather than having his own council district to do with as he might please, is instead some kind of high mückety-mücklischer poo-bah type guy in Joe Buscaino‘s employ over at CD 15.
Recently, a little after 7 a.m. on a fine cool Los Angeles Winter morning, I found myself on Hoover Street a little South of Vernon. If you know the area, or areas like it, you won’t be surprised to hear that at that time of day there were tamaleras everywhere. At major intersections, of course, and also near schools, selling tamales y champurrado for breakfast. You can see a picture somewhere near this sentence that I took while waiting my turn in line.
The whole scene is entirely social. There are grandmothers buying a dozen at a time to take home, people on their ways to work buying two or three for breakfast, maybe for lunch too, and schoolkids buying singles to eat while they walk.4 The tamalera creates a little bubble of warm sociability around her, momentarily protecting those inside from the chill of the foggy damp onshore flow.
This doesn’t happen only on the streets of South Los Angeles, of course. Last month Gustavo Arellano published a lovely article in the New Yorker entitled The Comfort of Tamales At The End Of 2017 about the significant social role of this ancient food5 in Mexican-American culture. And you can feel that sociability strongly while waiting in line to buy tamales on an L.A. street in the morning.
Well, well, well! The Historic Core BID, third weirdest of the minor Downtown BIDs and the exclusive demesne of batty little fusspot queen Blair Besten,6 held its Annual Meeting yesterday in the crown jewel of Michael Delijani’s Broadway empire, the Los Angeles Theatre. The local zillionaires were blessed by the heavens opening and, well, maybe not the angels of God descending,7 but at least they got José Huizar in all his freaking Councilmanic8 glory.
Well, not that anyone who’s paying attention expects consistency out of the Fifteen Lords and Ladies of our City, but when their hypocrisy reaches a certain feverishly hysterical pitch I find there’s nothing for it but to speak up. You see, evidently the Census Bureau in 2020 is going to use online response forms for the first time ever.
And for some reason, the badness of this, the fact of the digital divide and the role it might play in helping the government to erase the presence of the poor, the immigrant, is not lost on our City Council president, Herb Wesson, in this case. That’s why, it appears, that he and Gil Cedillo introduced a motion this morning (transcription after the break) positioning the City to oppose the Census Bureau’s intention to use this new electronic form to ask respondents about citizenship. In particular, saith Herb Wesson:
WHEREAS , the 2020 Census is the first Census that will be performed primarily electronically, which creates additional barriers for low-income and immigrant communities …
Perhaps you recall, dear reader, that in August 2016, San Pedro BID Executive Directrix Lorena Parker interceded with Joe Buscaino’s office on behalf of a member of her Board of Directors who was being criminally charged with not keeping his damn dumpsters clean. Now, normal people, like you, like I, tend to assume that it’s easier to not commit crimes than it is to commit them and then later try to fix them with our Council office, but, as the hallowed F. Scott Fitzgerald once noted:14
Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves.