ACCORDING TO LIZ - With much appreciation for the unknown 13th century composer, and the 17th century lyric writer of the Christmas carol we know as “Good King Wenceslas” who wanted to underline good works. Readers are encouraged to hum along.
Good Queen Karen Bass looked out
At her inauguration,
Saw the homeless lying roundabout
An affront to the celebration.
“Here’s LA’s true urgency,
We cannot stand it any longer.
I hereby declare an emergency
To make changes, bold and stronger.
“If regulation slows construction,
We’ll find some different tools.
Though it cause community destruction
We’ll gut those pesky rules.
So Rick Caruso and developers be sure,
Whatever you are selling,
Our queen hopes to help you bless the poor
Each with an affordable dwelling.
Gutting CEQA, pushing densification,
Will lead to more ghettoization.
What is driving up cost is gentrification
Here and across the nation.
With such powerful strategies in her sights,
Housing in every neighborhood,
But will forcing these projects into Boyle Heights
Apply equally to Bel-Air and Brentwood?
Thousands of vacancies exist in our city
So please stop permitting tear downs
That replace needed affordability
With more full-lot McMansions
Oh, good Queen Bass, why can’t you see
We don’t need harmful legislation,
Repeats of Scott Weiner state policy
And comparable exploitation.
For taking up the battle, we commend you
For confronting this daunting challenge,
But please be careful that in helping the few
The many don’t suffer damage.
Start small and wisely and then expand on
So neighborhoods you do not rupture.
More construction will put too much demand on
Our shaky infrastructure.
The nuanced approach of Biden’s plan
Has a holistic point of view.
Work with this type of guidance and
You’ll always have our thank you.
There are structural problems of funding and care.
It’s hard for profiteers to imagine
Solutions for those who live on a hope and a prayer
And want only love and compassion.
What about those who like the existence
Of living under a freeway?
Who refuse their meds and reject assistance
Don’t want the changes headed their way?
Warehousing the unhoused may not be best
It will only create more division.
Instead of street people, there’ll be massive protest
Displayed on worldwide television.
Strategic pushing, making single homes obsolete,
In the name of the sick and addicted
Won’t help us rescue from the squalor of the street
Everyone so afflicted.
And even with two jobs and more
People can’t afford rent or a mortgage
The need for better wages, we can’t ignore
Before claiming there’s a housing shortage
Hold up, Queen Bass, please think, be sure.
Can’t you generate a better mission?
For achievements that have to occur
Before you can achieve your vision.
People need education, and good healthcare
Other basic skills and support
To solve why they lost their homes before
Or, again, your dreams will fall short.
Yes, the way is far harder now
Because political winds blow stronger
For quick fixes and committing to how
To fund corporate profit-mongers.
But there are other resources, and ways to coach,
More innovative wisdom.
We must engage in a systemic approach
To build for you, your queendom.
Unaffordable shelter and negativity
Lead to crime and mass depression.
If we can’t overcome inequality
How can we escape oppression?
Will you, dear Queen, take up this fight
For the social justice we all sought, and
Address such harms from dawn till night
To help out our downtrodden.
Public housing alone won’t fix this peril
To help men, and women, and children.
What we really need now is the political will
To truly shake up the system.
You’ll have steadfast support and no obstruction
To attack the greed at City Hall,
And ensure all those caught up in corruption
Are headed for a fall.
But to get Angelenos housed with efficiency
Means working together with all others.
It’s giving everyone the same proficiency
To connect with our sisters and brothers.
Readers, you can be sure, whether or not wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing
(Liz Amsden is a contributor to CityWatch and an activist from Northeast Los Angeles with opinions on much of what goes on in our lives. She has written extensively on the City's budget and services as well as her many other interests and passions.In her real life she works on budgets for film and television where fiction can rarely be as strange as the truth of living in today's world.)