Just when you think it can’t get any weirder out there in BIDlandia, well … it does! You may recall last month’s revelation that the Fashion District BID paid some Berkeleyites almost $20,000 to study Santee Alley and report that, inter alia, Latinos are confused by lobster rolls. Well, in a similar yet far stranger vein, just the other day, the incomparable Rena Leddy1 sent me a video, paid for and produced by the BID, of a dinner party they had in the street last October.
The whole thing is not only deeply disturbing, it’s also embedded below the break for your edification if not your enjoyment.2 I put it below to calm the autoplay, which I can’t figure out how to eliminate. If you want to download it it’s available at Archive.Org as well.
A few weeks ago, Rory Carroll published an excellent article in The Guardian on how the City of Los Angeles has used gang injunctions as a tool of gentrification in Venice. Of course, this is not news to anyone who’s been paying attention since the injunction began in 2000. Even at the time it seemed clear that the injunction was a response to the wave of gentrification that began in Venice in the late 1980s and underwent unprecedented acceleration through the 1990s. Of course, everyone who’s smelting gold out of the housing stock of Oakwood in a blast furnace fueled by the burning bodies and lives of the poor people, the dark-skinned people, fed into the hopper by the LAPD, denies this every which way.
And these arguments have been repeated so often I have nightmares about them. “The cops would never ever do such a thing.” “There’s no conspiracy to chase out darkies.”3 And so on and on and on. But Venice’s own muse of slavering psychopathy, the very king of the gentrifiers, the universally acknowledged whitest man in Venice, Mark Ryavec himself, has distilled all of them, every last threadbare tin-foil-hat characterization, into one bitter pithy little ball. As Rory Carroll puts it:
For Mark Ryavec, head of the Venice Stakeholders Association, the notion that police act as gentrification agents is “a bunch of radical bullshit”.
This morning’s L.A. Times features an excellent story about how CIM Group defrauds its tenants in poverty-stricken but gentrifying areas of the City, telling them that they’re about to be evicted and offering them small amounts of money to sign releases. Of course, in Los Angeles, most low-cost rental units are covered by rent control laws which give these tenants significant protections which they don’t know about. CIM Group takes significant and soon-to-be-illegal advantage of this ignorance.