Author David Pepper argues that state governments have become a key reason for the erosion of rights and America’s drift from democracy.
“We just don’t have the luxury to be despondent.”
A three-part series of interviews about the influence of neoliberalism on our politics and economics.
California looks to ease the strain put on its vulnerable undocumented workforce.
The view from Lemon Hill, a working-class community where stress and anxiety rule the day.
Major hotel chains are considering making daily room cleaning an exception rather than the norm.
Alberto Carvalho, a proponent of school choice, oversaw a growth of magnet and charter schools in Miami.
Cervantes, a progressive policy expert, explains what has and hasn’t changed for immigrant workers under the Biden administration.
Democratic Assemblymember Ash Kalra is proposing a bill to jump-start the process, but Big Medicine will fight to kill it.
The oil and gas industry could jeopardize federal funding to clean up the state’s thousands of abandoned and leaking wells.
Walking back from the SEIU-SOULA* demonstration for immigrant rights at the downtown Federal Courthouse, I am wearing my clerical collar and carrying a CLUE-LA picket sign slung over my shoulder. Just across the 110 Freeway on Sixth Street, an older, tall, rather dapper looking white man passed me. Then about 10 paces on, he turns and asks: “What club are you with?”
“Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice,” I say.
To which he he asks, “Isn’t there justice in this country?”
“If you’re part of the one percent,” I answer.
“Well, I am part of the one percent,” he says, “And I am not giving any of it to you!” Then he strode on at an increased gait.
“Give” I thought. Who said anything about “giving”? Apparently, he does not believe in giving one’s self to another for their nurture and for one’s own.
Twenty years ago Los Angeles exploded in a confusing nightmare of violence, triggered by the jury acquittal of four police officers accused of beating black motorist Rodney King. For the next month Frying Pan News will present personal stories of the incendiary events that have been called everything from a riot to a rebellion. Today’s post comes from Lovell Estell III, a longtime L.A. Weekly theater critic.
Hold the Flak Vest
I was in the fourth month of an internship at the Silver Lake-based L.A. Weekly on that day in April. There was a lead-dense atmosphere of tension in the building – but also an electric current of excitement. Earlier in the day, publisher Mike Sigman had asked me if I wouldn’t mind doing a bit of field reporting, after which he handed me a flak vest. I politely declined both the vest and his offer of potential journalistic immortality.
Next week the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) and a coalition of faith, labor, environmental and community organizations will hold a major action at L.A. City Hall, where they will release a plan for pulling the city onto a higher and healthier level of civic life.
PROSPER LA — the Program for Shared Prosperity and Environmental Renewal — looks at eight of the region’s core industries (energy efficiency, construction , grocery/retail, ports, tourism, waste and recycling, airline services and home care) that could be the source of a broadly shared economic recovery. The program offers both a positive vision for the future and a ready-made inventory of statistics that show both L.A.’s potential and its warning signs.
Among the facts contained in the PROSPER LA plan:
Every time I drive down Sunset Boulevard toward Chinatown, I get really mad. And it’s not only because Walmart wants to move into this neighborhood without extending the most basic community outreach. It’s because of those monstrous, faux-Italian Renaissance apartment buildings that take up blocks of space on what should be Chinatown’s Gateway. Those ugly looking bunkers house hundreds of market-rate apartment dwellers and are called Orsini I, II and III. They are owned by developer Geoffrey Palmer, and the story of how they were allowed to be built is a familiar one in Los Angeles.
A wealthy developer bought some land and wanted to build what he wanted to build. City officials were bullied into believing that there was nothing they could do about it. When Palmer managed to illegally bulldoze Bunker Hill’s last remaining Victorian cottage, the city sued. Palmer counter-sued.
It was quite a sucker punch Walmart landed against the community last week in the über-retailer’s fight to open a 33,000-square-foot store in L.A.’s Chinatown. The shot sneaked in, quick, low and hard–but ultimately didn’t end the match.
The scene last week: Los Angeles City Council chambers in City Hall, minutes before a unanimous March 23 vote on an emergency motion to temporarily ban chain stores (such as Walmart) from opening in the historic Chinatown neighborhood.
Suddenly, a startling announcement by a city bureaucrat—Walmart has obtained the permits needed to move forward in Chinatown—okayed only the day before the critical City Council vote.
The head of L.A.’s Department of Building and Safety himself, Robert R. “Bud” Ovrom, was there to deliver the news and further clarify the situation—namely, that the proposed ban would not interfere with the World’s Largest Retailer’s Chinatown plans.
Assemblymember Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa), elected in 2010, has so far made a career out of demonizing workers and attacking workers’ rights. From collective bargaining to pensions, Mansoor never saw a cherished worker right he didn’t hate. Last year, he even took time to honor anti-union Midwest legislators, whom he calls “courageous” and with whom he stands “in solidarity.”
It’s not surprising, then, that he’s become something of a shill for the campaign to silence workers’ political voice through this fall’s corporate power grab initiative. According to the Pacifica Institute, Mansoor vocally supports the measure, which proponents deceptively call the “Stop Special Interest Money Now Act,” arguing that it will limit “the influence of special interest money.” (Of course nothing could be further from the truth. It’s nothing other than a muzzle on workers that will make our system even more corrupt,
Over 400,000 elderly and disabled California residents depend on the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program to keep them living safely and independently at home. Nearly half this number live in Los Angeles County. Over the last few weeks my colleagues have written articles that illustrate L.A. County caregivers’ need for a living wage and show the positive economic impact of that wage for all L.A. residents.
I am an in-home caregiver for my daughter Elizabeth, who suffers a mental disability. She is 21 years old, has autism and needs fulltime supervision. Any parent who has an autistic child understands the unique challenges we must deal with on a daily basis — such as my daughter needing to go to a special school, having to work with social workers who check in on her, juggling multiple doctors and administering her different medications throughout the day.
Community members recently wrapped up the three-pronged Long Beach Rising! civic-engagement program aimed at increasing residents’ participation in local politics. I’ve been part of the civic-engagement committee, which formed in November 2011 to address low voter turnout in local elections —particularly from people of color and low-income communities.
From the outset committee members knew we wanted to do something about the persistent disparities in voter participation (and the consequences this has for city policy), but didn’t have a blueprint for this sort of endeavor. So we set out to create one.
From the start there was a high level of enthusiasm, with members from nearly 20 community organizations convening last November to begin planning Long Beach Rising! This process was facilitated by the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community.
In January, 35 people graduated from our inaugural training program.
L.A. Observed business writer Mark Lacter recently added his voice to the steadily rising chorus of sane commentators calling for an end to the panic jabber about high gas prices. Conservative politicians have been lustily blaming higher pump prices (along with sun spots) on the Obama administration, but Lacter answers them with an inconvenient truth: Prices have actually leveled off and have even crept down a bit lately. And they’re not all that different from last spring’s:
“If you go back to May, 2011,” wrote Lacter, “an average gallon of regular in L.A. was running nearly $4.30 a gallon, and . . . [t]hat’s not even adjusting for inflation.”
Lacter includes a nifty Washington Post video which posits that part of the panic lies in the psychology of drivers having nothing to do when filling up but stare at those numbers spinning upwards on pumps.