Maybe you’ve been out of state and had some wit tell you that they hate Los Angeles “but love San Francisco.” This is a commonplace sentiment among easterners (around here, we believe that easterners start at the San Bernardino County line). Here’s an explanation: San Francisco is a tiny, transparent town. It’s easy to understand because it’s small and because it’s a self-conscious imitation of eastern cities, themselves often self-conscious imitations of European cities. It’s visually appealing in a facile way. It’s got pretty houses and the “bad” neighborhoods, such as they are, have been suppressed and relocated to the point where tourists don’t have to go there. Their local burritos are just exotic enough to thrill but not so different from Chipotle™ that they disconcert the outta-towners.
San Francisco is exactly what easterners expect from a city and the weather’s better and the executioner’s face is always well hidden. So they “get it” immediately and love it instinctively, like tourists love Denny’s because the food’s the same wherever they are. Frisco dwellers crave this universal approval, too. They’re addicted to an extent where, like junkies, they need a big dose of tourist-love-bombing daily just to feel normal. Like sex addicts, they continually need yet another piece of strange or they’ll forget they exist. For over a hundred years they’ve been letting this addiction distort their city’s culture and politics to make it even more pleasing to easterners. Continue reading Frisco Dwellers don’t ♥ LA; Never Have, Never Will→
The 6th amendment guarantees the right to “by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.” This was the result of a compromise away from a right to trial in “the vicinage” where the crime was committed, fought for by James Madison but ultimately compromised in order to allow the constitution to be ratified. Continue reading Monica Yamada and the Hollywood Vicinage→
The Brown Act is the California law governing public meetings. It’s serious business. § 54959 states that
Each member of a legislative body who attends a meeting of that legislative body where action is taken in violation of any provision of this chapter, and where the member intends to deprive the public of information to which the member knows or has reason to know the public is entitled under this chapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Now, that intent element is a little sticky. Evidently it’s not a crime “to deprive the public of information” if you’re just ignorant of the law or too arrogant to understand that the law applies to you or whatever. But at least some members of some groups subject to the Brown Act must be guilty of a misdemeanor when, e.g., they explicitly deny members of the public access to documents which the Brown Act states explicitly must be made available to the public “immediately.” When a member of a body subject to the Brown Act says “no, you can’t look at the document,” the intent is clear. The member “has reason to know” the law because it’s their job to know the law, them being a member of a Brown-Act body. Bang! Misdemeanor. Then how does the law get enforced in such a case?
The procedure is laid out in the Act itself (§54960 et seq.). Either the DA or a member of the public can go to court and ask for injunctive relief of various kinds or else “any interested party” can write a letter to the criminals, point out their crime, give them 30 days to think about it, and allow them the option of promising never to do the crime in the future albeit without admitting that they actually did it in the past. As far as we can see, no one has ever gone to jail for violating the Brown Act (although see this story about a guy in Illinois who placed a whole county board of supervisors under citizen’s arrest). Continue reading How to Enforce the Law→
See Sarah Besley, Carol Massie, and Kerry Morrison discuss the Vine Street tree vandal. Tree vandalism is antisocial and upsetting and the suspect should be arrested and tried, but why this zeal to charge it as a felony? The fact that the BID is talking to a prosecutor, who’s “willing to work with them,” about upping the charge even though the amount of damage hasn’t yet hit the required threshold evinces a lack of respect for the law and suggests that the BID has public officials willing to bend the law on their behalf. As far as we’re concerned, these BID folks are all serial misdemeanants for their Brown Act violations. Their victims don’t have prosecutors willing to even charge the BID people, let alone “work with them” to twist the law around to charge them as felons, even though their crimes affect quality of life in Hollywood far more than tree vandalism does. The vandalized trees might be beams in the eye of the vandal, but the BID has a forest in its own eye, which it evidently can’t see for the trees. Continue reading The Trees and the Forest→
When businessmen try to recreate Los Angeles from scratch they end up with some horrifying misbegotten travesty like CityWalk or Santa Monica. They don’t know how to make a real Los Angeles. If tourists knew how to make a place like this there’d be at least one out East of San Bernardino where tourists come from, and there’s not. Tourists don’t know how to make one either. Continue reading You didn’t build that→