This blog has two essential purposes: first, to publish public records obtained from the three Hollywood area BIDs we cover and their collaborators and second, to needle employees and supporters of those BIDs. Neither educating nor convincing anyone of anything are huge priorities of ours, and even the public revelation of our two purposes cuts against the grain somewhat. However, it’s recently come to our attention that some of our readers who, so to speak, come upon our work innocently, not involved with the BIDs but just having a general interest in the political life of Los Angeles, may consider our constant comparisons of BIDs with Nazis to be glib, puerile, shallow, offensive, trivializing, and/or so on. Some of the objections expressed have come to seem, after much consideration, to have merit and to deserve a serious response.
To understand our position, it’s essential to imagine what it felt like to inhabit the Third Reich as a non-Jew in the early 1930s, before Nazism was a universal symbol of pure and essential evil. Germany wasn’t yet an international outcast, and non-Jewish Germans, for the most part, didn’t feel like a nation of demons. In many ways they were not. Concentration camps, now considered primarily sites of genocide, were opened by the Nazis in March 1933 immediately after their accession to power. At first they were used for holding political prisoners and criminals and people were actually released from them on occasion. There’s also no particular reason to think that the Nazi government had any concrete plans to exterminate Jews from the earth when they took power in 1933. Continue reading Why We Think it is Fitting to Compare BIDs to Nazis→
As you probably know, the city of Los Angeles has been holding public hearings to gather input on possible frameworks for legalizing street vending. We’ve written before about the May 28 meeting in Boyle heights: once, twice, and thrice. Now, at last, we take up the June 11 meeting in Van Nuys. We’re starting things off with our old friend, Ms. Kerry Morrison. You can listen to her statement here or read a transcription after the break. We’ve also written about Kerry’s description of the meetings at the Joint Security Committee in July:
there were a series of four hearings that the chief administrative office staff held on the… the sidewalk vending ordinance. … It’s just this kind of amorphous set of hearings, which were completely dysfunctional, disrespectful, and almost, um, resembled a circus.
In the same meeting, Kerry explained that she wasn’t putting up with this, not for a second, and told everyone what she’d done about it:
So actually, Carol Schatz and I wrote a letter to Herb Wesson, the president of the city council after that meeting saying this is, this is really not being, you know, well-handled, there’s no security, it’s intimidating to people, there are people who did not want to testify. So the subsequent two hearings were, um, maybe a little bit more well-behaved.
Well, we put our fearless correspondent on the case and he went out and got us a copy of this letter. As is usual with Kerry when she’s writing in this genre, outraged-with-veneer-of-politesse-and-diplomacy white supremacism, the letter manages to combine utterly competent, even stylish, syntax with semantics that wouldn’t have been out of place in a 1970-era Ronald Reagan psychotic fever dream about students running wild in the streets of Berkeley. Read on for details and more! Continue reading Kerry Morrison in Van Nuys: Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison / Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden1→
Odilo Globocnik first came to the attention of SS bossman Heinrich Himmler because of his relentless antisemitism and his willingness to murder the Jews of Vienna on a freelance basis even before such practices were sanctioned by German law. Consequently, in 1939 Himmler promoted Globocnik and moved him to occupied Poland. In 1941 Himmler directed Globocnik to oversee one of the most enormous instances of genocide in the history of the world: Aktion Reinhardt.
This was a big step up for Globus, as Odilo was affectionately known to his buddies in the Schutzstaffel, “the vilest organization ever known.”1 In localized modern terms, it’s like being moved from the suburban backwater of Inglewood to the big-time bright-lights-big-city cosmopolis of Hollywood! Globus took to his new surroundings like Samson to the Philistines, and, by late 1943 when he wound up operations, more than 2,000,000 Jews were dead. The organizational aspects of this accomplishment were overwhelmingly intricate, so Globus felt understandably proud of his masterful work and wanted to crow about it. However, Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the SS and Globocnik’s boss, had begun to notice that the rest of the world, and even a significant number of German citizens, weren’t too happy about the systematic deportation and gassing of human beings on this scale. As historian Bettina Stangneth has it:
The Nazis might have kept telling themselves that the extermination of the Jews was the only means for their survival, but they lacked sufficient faith in this view to share it with the rest of the world. The Nazi police state was born of the fear that not even its own population would understand its campaign of murder. Himmler guessed early on that this “glorious chapter of our history” could never be written, and he prevented Odilo Globocnik from sinking a memorial plaque into the earth for the heroes of Operation Reinhard…In summer 1942 [Himmler] ordered his commanders to find a way to avoid digging any more mass graves and to clear up the old ones. Any form of publicity would be harmful.2