Sat08012015

Last updateThu, 30 Jul 2015 7pm

LOS ANGELES Saturday, August 1st 2015 4:47

 IF IT'S BROKEN...FIX IT

Getting Serious about LA’s Sidewalk Repairs: A Five-Point ‘Let’s-Get-On-with-It’ Plan

Ken Alpern
FIXING LA-Last Tuesday night's City Council Board of Public Works and Budget Committees met and allowed a lot of good public input to a series of concerned and available Councilmembers and City officials. The attendance and input were both outstanding--I want to thank Councilmember Mike Bonin, in particular, for allowing the outreach and advice to…

Latino Politicians Putting Climate Change Ahead of Constituents

Joel Kotkin
POLITICS-Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward…

Worlds Apart on Kathryn Steinle: When Political Opportunism Reigns Supreme

John Mirisch
MUSING WITH MIRISCH-The small Swedish Jewish Museum in Stockholm is tucked away on a side street. Discreet signage instructs would-be visitors to push a button which activates a camera, so they can be screened before they are granted entry. The museum's permanent exhibition fills one fairly small room. Most of the objects on display are Jewish…

Garcetti Passes, Wesson Fails

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Our Los Angeles Times has issued midterm letter grades for Controller Ron Galperin (B-) and City Attorney Mike Feuer (B+) and will be posting grades for City Council President Herb Wesson this Sunday and Mayor Eric Garcetti the following Sunday. Our City is facing many difficult issues, ranging from a lagging economy, relatively high…

What LA Really Needs: A Part-time City Council and a Part-time Mayor!

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-There are so many serious and pressing problems facing the City of Los Angeles and few if any real solutions are being proposed or implemented by our elected and appointed leaders at City Hall. I will start with the current city budget. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had a $7.7 billion total budget in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.…

Why Don’t the City’s Women Managers Hire More Women?

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN-Perusing the web is a little like the soap operas of yesteryear. You get suckered in! One link leads to another link and then one is exposed to a barrage both facts and idiocy. The reason for this discussion was my attending a July Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (VANC) meeting with the Department of Water and Power. General…

Cleaning Up LA City Hall: ‘It’s What’s Legal That’s the Problem’

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-Everyone understands that developers own our city government. Sure, there are some officials here and there who are upright and independent, but recent history shows that the developers typically get their way in spite of public opposition. Whether it is a zoning change for an office tower or the required permits for a new mall,…

Not So Fast LA! Let’s Consider the Real Costs of Hosting the Olympics before We Jump In

Greg Nelson
SPORTS POLITICS-On Monday, Boston withdrew from its offer to be the nation’s bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. In January, Los Angeles finished second to Boston when the U.S. Olympic Committee made its decision. After Boston was selected to polish up its bid before submitting it to the International Olympic Committee for a final decision,…

Party Crashing for Political Access: Schwarzenegger and My Pantsuit

Charlotte Laws
CALIFORNIA ACCESS POLITICS-Party crashing—or gate-crashing, as it is sometimes called—is an art form that I stumbled upon as a teen. I taught myself how to finagle into any event, anywhere, anytime. It required being part private eye, part actress and part chutzpah machine. I had to think outside of the box, throw myself into the role, and whip my…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.





Art or Ad? LA’s mural law written in gray ink

Escape the Room-Conan goes for the record … and the laffs


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

20 Years After the LA Riots and Nothing Has Changed

THE CITY - The killing of Trayvon Martin is a reminder of the racial divide poisoning American life, which has resisted all attempts to bridge it, even after the country elected its first African-American president.

I write this on the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots, a multiracial affair. It’s been 17 years since the O.J. Simpson murder trial, which further showed the antipathy between whites and blacks.

I covered those events for the Los Angeles Times. The riots, in particular, stick in my mind. I remember being at the First AME Church, a center of Los Angeles’ black community, and walking toward a nearby boulevard where young black men were battling Los Angeles Police Department officers. Church members, who knew me, grabbed my arms and led me back to AME, one of them sa ying, “This is no time for journalistic heroics.”

I sneaked back and watched the battle. I also saw men from the church and Latino residents of nearby apartments fight the rioters’ fires, with no help from the city fire department, black and brown hands together around garden hoses. I drove through a city aflame to the paper downtown and then home, returning to the fires and rubble early the next morning.
●●●
Other columnists assess the last 20 years since the riots of 1992.
“Twenty Years after the Flames”-Earl Ofari Hutchinson
“Burn, Maybe Burn?”-FryingPanNews
“Riots Past & Riots Future?”-Jonathan Dobrer
●●●
Nor will I forget the challenge of reporting on the O.J. trial and a criminal justice system that was stacked against defendants, except for one as rich as Simpson. Each day, I watched from the courthouse as lawyers, witnesses, reporters and the famous defendant took part in a drama that plumbed the depths of how Americans feel about race.

My memories have been revived by Martin’s death and the hate crimes in Tulsa, Okla., where three African-Americans were killed and two others wounded by a white man and an American Indian who has described himself as white. Simpson was African-American, his victims white, while Martin was African-American and his killer has a white father and a mother of Peruvian descent. African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans and whites all were involved in the Los Angeles riots.

There are differences between these crimes. What the events have in common, in addition to violence, is the way people view them. Whites downplay the racial angle while people of color don’t.

The racial divide in the Martin case was revealed in an April 2-4 USA Today/Gallup poll. Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor in chief, wrote  “Blacks are paying much closer attention to the news of the incident; overwhelmingly believe that George Zimmerman, the individual who shot Martin, is guilty of a crime; believe that racial bias was a major factor in the events leading up to the shooting; and believe that Zimmerman would already have been arrested had the victim been white, not black.”

A total of 73 percent of blacks surveyed by Gallup (before Zimmerman was charged) said he would have been arrested if Martin had been white. Only 35 percent of nonblacks believed that way (Latinos are included in the nonblack category, Gallup told the website Salon). A similar proportion of blacks—72 percent—said racial bias played a major role in the events that led up to the shooting, compared with 31 percent of nonblacks.

Public opinion, Newport said, “reflects the same kind of racial divide found in 1995 surveys asking about the murder trial of O.J. Simpson.” Acknowledging the differences because of the races of Simpson and the victim, Newport said, “both situations, even though 17 years apart, apparently tap into the same deeply felt views of the average black American that the criminal justice system is biased against blacks.”


In the Simpson case, one Gallup poll found that 78 percent of blacks supported the jury that found him not guilty, while only 42 percent of whites agreed.

The ethnic aspects of the Los Angeles riots were more complex because of the city’s multiethnic population.

Most of Los Angeles, especially white Los Angeles, did not expect the uprising, even though tensions had been growing in South Central L.A., an African-American and Latino area.

The riots occurred after the acquittal of police officers accused of beating Rodney King, an African-American motorist. Their trial had been moved to a white suburb, and when the verdict was delivered, violence began, first in South Los Angeles and then extending to other parts of the city.

The police department was caught unprepared. The then-chief, Daryl Gates, had long sent his officers into the area where the riots were centered as if they were an occupying army, a major source of racial tension. But when violence broke out, Gates—either by intent or neglect—had no riot plan and, in the first hours, the streets were without police protection.

Although the first violence was by African-Americans—most famously in the televised beating of white truck driver Reginald Denny—it spread. A Rand report said, “this wasn’t a black riot so much as it was a minority riot. ... [M]embers of all racial groups were involved in the spreading physical assaults and looting.”

A total of 54 people died, more than 2,300 were injured and property damage amounted to more than $1 billion. More than half those arrested were Latinos. More than half of stores destroyed were owned by Korean-Americans and perhaps a third by Latinos.

Twenty years later, the divide remains. Substantially more Asians, blacks and Latinos than whites believe that ethnic groups are getting along badly, according to a recent poll by Loyola Marymount University’s Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles. More blacks, Latinos and Asian-Americans than whites believe their neighborhoods are less safe than in the past. They also have a more negative view of race relations than do whites.

The riots and the OJ Simpson trial occurred before instant social media and just as 24-hour cable news was beginning to exert its power. At the time, we thought communications were fast, but compared with today, news traveled slowly and rabble-rousing nuts didn’t have the Internet to spew their venom. And although handguns were plentiful, the idea of a “Stand Your Ground” law, giving people great latitude to shoot in self-defense, was just a gun lobby dream instead of the reality in 25 states, as it is now.

Today, multiracial cities and towns are becoming more common, presenting other parts of the country with the complex ethnic tensions long familiar to Los Angeles. This is a big change in American life.

Many Americans thought we had overcome racial hatred because we elected a black president and we’re more accepting of interracial marriage and children of mixed race.

But with racist gunslingers inspired by their Facebook and Twitter “friends,” emboldened by permissive gun laws and hating the increasing racial diversity of America, nothing has changed.

(Bill Boyarsky is a journalist and blogs at truthdig.com where this column first appeared.)
–cw


 

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