Anatomy of a Hustle

Consuelo Marshall: People of Los Angeles, this woman is NOT your friend.
Nine justices of the United States Supreme Court to Consuelo Marshall and the City of Los Angeles: Dear Consuelo and LA, are you fucking serious?!
I would like to recommend the book Anatomy of a Hustle to anyone who’s interested in practical aspects of the governance of the city of Los Angeles. It’s a memoir by Clinton Galloway of his attempt, along with his brother Carl, to get a franchise to bring cable television to South Los Angeles in the 1970s and beyond. They were thwarted at every turn by an astonishingly corrupt city government and an astonishingly corrupt federal judge, spawned in the bowels of City Hall itself; Consuelo Marshall. Things haven’t changed much over there.

Marshall’s blatantly biased decision in favor of her cronies at City Hall was reversed unanimously by the 9th circuit and again unanimously by the U.S. Supreme Court, and yet she continued to violate their orders and judicial ethics at every possible point for almost a decade after the big courts remanded the case back to her with a note attached saying roughly: “Dear Consuelo and city of Los Angeles, are you fucking serious?!”

She was serious, it turned out. And her good friend Tom Bradley, echoing something that Andrew Jackson didn’t really say but he might as well have done,1 enabled her by announcing that William Rehnquist had made his decision and now he should enforce it. The mayor, the city council, the council staff, the citizens commissions, all corrupt, just like now. If they’d’ve invented business improvement districts back then they would have been in there standing in line for their slice of the pie.

Anyway, the book is gripping and horrifying. You should read it. You can find places to buy it on the page linked to above, or you can find it in a library near you via Worldcat. Here’s a sample, which will be mighty familiar to anyone who’s interacted at all with a business improvement district. The motherfuckers have changed horses,2 but the motherfucking goes on just the same:

The blatant hypocrisy displayed by the City of Los Angeles in our cable franchise efforts and court case are examples to all citizens who [try] to deal with government. In their legislative responsibilities, the concept that the law was the same for all persons was simply a lie and part of the hustle. Expecting fairness and integrity from them is simply deluded thinking, making the concept of equal protection under the law another fallacy.3

The system also provides a method for the citizen to protect themselves against the excesses of government. When the legislative or executive branches have exceeded their authority by passing laws that violate the constitution, it becomes the citizens’ obligation to take up the battle against such excesses, either by the ballot box, information media, or the court system.4

  1. Checking whether or not some famous person said some random thing isn’t that hard and we recommend it to all writers. You may end up looking like a jackass for what you say in print, but at least it won’t be for something as easily avoidable as a misattribution.
  2. Hurrah for revolution and more cannon-shot!
    A beggar upon horseback lashes a beggar on foot.
    Hurrah for revolution and cannon come again!
    The beggars have changed places, but the lash goes on.
    —W.B. Yeats, The Great Day
  3. Anatomy of a Hustle, p.282-3
  4. ibid. p.290

Image of Consuelo Marshall is in the public domain as it is the work of an employee of the government of the United States of America produced in the performance of her, his, or its official duties. As usual, we got it from the Wikimedia Foundation and so can you!


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