It’s so darn bandied-about that it’s become easy to forget that Abraham Lincoln’s perfect description of the American form of government,1 or at least its to-be-constantly-striven-for ideal form, as “of the people, by the people, for the people” has a great deal of meaning packed into it. In particular, if government is to be of and for the people then the people have to have access to the spaces in which its work is done and advance notice of when it’s happening.
And governments being what they are2 they would often prefer to keep people out of the process entirely by making their decisions and doing their work in secret. To prevent this, to preserve Lincoln’s ideal, we need laws to protect our access. In California such access is protected by the Brown Act.
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→
We’ve written before about the BIDs’ and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s sinister plot to turn Hollywood into a sundown town by discouraging black and brown people from coming here at night. We’ve also written about the Hollywood Entertainment District BID’s soulless opposition to the saintly Senator Carol Liu’s Right to Rest Act, which would prevent the BID Patrol from harassing and arresting homeless people for violating the vile LAMC 41.18(d), which makes it a misdemeanor to sit on the sidewalk for any purpose other than watching a parade. What we discovered recently from a fine article by Renee Lewis which appeared yesterday on Al Jazeera America is that the two issues are linked via the despicable League of California Cities.
Lewis quotes various activists to the effect that “[t]he homeless are not the first marginalized group targeted by the League in its over 100-year history” and “[t]he League has supported sundown towns, Jim Crow laws, Chinese exclusion and Japanese internment.” And it’s true. E.g., look at the LA Times1 on February 16, 1942, where Richard Graves, executive secretary of the League is quoted as saying:
The most obvious advantage to be gained by enactment of such ordinances [including evacuation of Japanese-Americans] is protection of the civilian population…