This is just a quick note to call attention to this motion, introduced in Council this morning by Herb Wesson, Gil Cedillo, and Nury Martinez (there’s a transcription of the PDF after the break). The motion, which has been assigned CF 18-0086, instructs the City Attorney with assistance from some other offices to draft a new civil rights law. The proposed law has two main parts.
First, it would prohibit “discrimination, prejudice, intolerance and bigotry that results in denial of equal treatment of any individual” and would do this by banning discrimination based on:
- national origin
- citizenship status or perceived status
- gender identity or expression
- sexual orientation or perceived orientation
- marital status
- partnership status
- employment status
- source of income
in the areas of
- medical services
- other establishments1
Second, it would establish a new commission, to be called the Civil and Human Rights Commission, which would enforce the law. Now, I am completely opposed to all these kinds of discrimination, and, as you might have guessed, I’m completely in favor of establishing any kind of new venue for me to complain about BIDs to.2 However, as is so often the case with our City Council, things are probably not exactly what they seem to be on the surface.
It’s a idiosyncratic aspect of politics in Los Angeles, perennially confusing to outsiders, that progressives seem to run freaking everything.3 Our City Council routinely passes laws against the over-vigorous enforcement of immigration laws, against border walls, against global warming, against Muslim registration, against killing puppies and kitties at the pound, against keeping Billy the damn Elephant in the zoo, and now against bigotry, hatred, and discrimination.4
You name a progressive cause that can be addressed by passing a law against something and our City Council will gladly pass a law against it. And the vast majority of Angelenos are in favor of these laws, as well they should be. In fact, there are only two issues which stand in the way of achieving a perfect kingdom of eternal progressive loving grace and perpetual celestial peace right here in the City of Angels: real estate development and homelessness.
When dealing with any matter related to development or to homelessness, not only do our City leaders forget all about their progressive principles, they completely forget about all principles at all. They forget that there’s even such a thing as a principle. They probably forget how to spell the damn word “principle.”5
For a concrete, still raw, still bleeding example, one need look no farther than the Skid Row Neighborhood Council fiasco, in which mostly black, mostly homeless residents tried to establish their own Neighborhood Council, which would have given them some voice in real estate development in their neighborhood, as the Councils are meant to do, and they were unfairly, illegally, immorally attacked at every turn by an astoundingly aggressive coalition of developers, BIDdies, Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Board members, and City officials.
This Kalifornia Klown Krew spent more than $45,000 on lobbyists to beat off the ill-fated attempt at self-determination by poor nonwhite homeless people, the very people that any Civil Rights law we need in this City ought to be protecting first and foremost. The horror show culminated in a despicable parody of the democratic process in a committee hearing chaired by Herb Wesson, one of the co-movers of this Civil Rights jive we’re discussing here, and dominated by CD14 rep Jose Huizar, who lied his way through a nonsensical justification for a shamelessly ad hoc law which drove a stake through the heart of the SRNC formation effort.
And even though the very law recommended by this committee and subsequently passed by the full Council implemented a variety of aggressive vote-suppression measures of the sort developed, perfected, and beloved in the Deep South, even though the measures taken against the SRNC by Huizar and his developer cronies were deeply discriminatory, somehow all three of the movers of this Civil Rights motion found a way to vote in favor of Huizar’s nightmare SRNC-killing ordinance.
And the SRNC episode is no one-off thing. The City Council is completely, of course, in favor of every form of human dignity, unless it has the potential to slow down or stop development or hinder the repression of the homeless,6 in which case they’re absolutely opposed. So yeah, here we are in Los Angeles, this progressive political paradise, where our politicians sit around after a long day at the office passing Civil Rights laws and opposing Donald Trump while at the same time crushing the fragile hopes, dreams, and tracheas of homeless Angelenos beneath their iron heels and they pass around flagons of self-congratulation juice as they toast their own self-righteous wokeness. Here we are, for all the good it does us or anyone else.7
IMMIGRANT AFFAIRS, CIVIL RIGHTS AND EQUITY
The City of Los Angeles, with its great cosmopolitan and diverse population, must establish public policy that promotes understanding and compassion between and among communities, and that discourages discrimination, prejudice, intolerance and bigotry that denies equal treatment to any individual because of the individual’s race, color, ethnicity, creed, age, national origin, citizenship status or perceived status, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or perceived orientation, disability, marital status, partnership status, employment status or source of income.
The City of Los Angeles has benefited, and will continue to benefit from the economic, cultural, and educational contributions of a wide range of minority groups and marginalized communities who are often targets of abuse and discrimination. The City of Los Angeles has a duty to protect and promote public health and safety within its boundaries and to protect its residents against discrimination, threats and retaliation based on a real or perceived status. Such discriminatory and prejudicial practices pose a substantial threat to the health, safety and welfare of the community.
In order to encourage equal treatment, and protect all Angelenos from discrimination, intolerance and bigotry, the City of Los Angeles must establish a Civil and Human Rights law that prohibits discrimination by individuals and corporations in employment, housing, medical services, businesses, and other establishments. The proposed law must provide remedies easily accessible to victims of discrimination and include severe penalties to discourage the exploitation of and discrimination against the City’s residents.
I THEREFORE MOVE that the City Council request the City Attorney, with assistance from the City’s Immigrant Affairs and Civil Rights Advocate, Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst, and any other City department as necessary, to prepare and present a draft Civil and Human Rights Ordinance that: I) prohibits discrimination, prejudice, intolerance and bigotry that results in denial of equal treatment of any individual; 2) provides remedies accessible to complainants; and 3) creates the City of Los Angeles Civil and Human Rights Commission and any other supporting unit to investigate and enforce violations of the proposed ordinance.
PRESENTED BY: HERB J. WESSON /S/, GILBERT A. CEDILLO /S/
SECONDED BY: NURY MARTINEZ /S/
Image of Herman Wesson XI is ©2017 MichaelKohlhaas.Org and was smoofed up outta Mr. Man’s Twitter profile pic. Take *THAT*, forces of evil!
- I know that’s syntactically incoherent, but I’m just quoting from the motion. Given the habitual tendencies of our Council, it’s a good day for them when their incoherence only reaches the level of syntax.
- And if this new Civil Rights Commission makes it off the ground and if they do actually have some power to enforce anti-discrimination laws, it’s not improbable that BIDs might be among their targets, founded as they are on the basis of historical white supremacy.
- Not that there’s anything really wrong with this. It’s far better than the alternative, obviously.
- We here on the editorial staff of MK.Org are against all of these things as well, except maybe the stuff about the elephant. Still thinking about that one.
- If they ever knew in the first place. The 15 lords and ladies of our City have been, will be, and are called many things, but no one who’s paying attention is going to call them geniuses.
- And therefore campaign donations.
- Look, obviously it does a lot of good. I wouldn’t live anywhere else on earth if I still had the power to live here. I love it here. But at this point it’s got to be tough love or everything’s going to be lost.