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ONE MOTHER'S PERSPECTIVE

  • WHO WE ARE-Women did it again. The annual Memorial Day tradition of placing flowers on graves of fallen soldiers was begun by women in the South after the Civil War. Who knew? Who now remembers that it was originally Decoration Day? Or that it is a day to decorate the graves of soldiers who fought for a better future. Memorial Day is a great deal…
  • 453 Days Later...

    Tom Rubin
    OFFENSIVE BUT PROTECTED SPEECH-Welcome news this week from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. By a vote of 11 to 1, the court overturned its injunction against the controversial video called "Innocence of Muslims" that it had ordered off YouTube back in February 2014. Here's the background. Actress Cindy Lee Garcia (photo below) was…
  • What LA Educators Should Learn From Bell Gardens High School’s Shocking Turnaround

    Jay Mathews
    VOICES FROM THE SQUARE-Bell Gardens High School in east Los Angeles County was a sorry mess when science teacher Liz Lowe arrived in 1989. It was overflowing with trailer classrooms and graffiti. More than 3,000 students crowded into school buildings surrounding a concrete quadrangle with patches of grass and some trees. Expectations were low. Not…
  • The Clean Sweep Election Finally Happened

    Bob Gelfand
    GELFAND’S WORLD- A few years ago, a group calling itself Clean Sweep argued that the voters of Los Angeles should defeat all the incumbents and replace them with fresh blood. On Tuesday, the results came close. There are two distinct lessons, one of which is quite ominous for elected officials. This election demonstrated the end of voter patience…
  • What Did Tuesday’s LAUSD Election Results Prove?

    Paul Hatfield
    PERSPECTIVE-Did the LAUSD election results signal a change for charter schools? Perhaps. Possibly. Maybe. You can make a decent case that Ref Rodriguez’s victory in District 5 points to strong support for charters. It was a battle between two well-funded candidates with diametrically opposed views on the issue. The effectiveness and fairness of…
  • (Train)ing Ourselves to Confront Modern Mass Transit

    Ken Alpern
    GETTING THERE FROM HERE-It's great to learn that Metro has an excellent new CEO with the hiring of Phillip A. Washington who comes to us from Denver. Following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Roger Snoble and Art Leahy, Mr. Washington has a first-rate reputation to maintain--but his first job will be to pass Measure R-2. Measure R-2 (perhaps…
  • City Controller’s Grandstanding DWP Audit is the Real Waste of Ratepayer Dollars

    Dennis Zine
    JUST THE FACTS-City Controller Ron Galperin’s Grandstanding DWP Audit results were finally released. Unfortunately, the conclusion and political spin that came afterwards from the controller was misleading. Here are the FACTS: The DWP’s Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute are administered by DWP managers and representatives of the…
  • A Place Where ‘Special Interest’ is NOT a Dirty Word

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-We need to have a new word to differentiate the villainous “Special Interest” that everyone is always complaining about and the “Special Interest” that almost all of politicians and civic and social activists have adopted as a cause. It is impossible to have passion about multiple issues. I know I have mentioned this before, but it seems…
  • Alert! America’s Small Businesses are Being Screwed by Big Business

    Robert Reich
    THE ECONOMY-Can it be that America’s small businesses are finally waking up to the fact they’re being screwed by big businesses? For years, small-business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses have lined up behind big businesses lobbies. (Photo: small businesses in Studio City) They’ve contributed to the same Republican…

 

  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…




Memorial Day 2015- Freedom Isn’t Free

J. Cole raps on the Letterman show: “Be Free’

The Star Spangled Banner … like you’ve never heard it before

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

The Billionaire Developer and the Reimagining of LA

COMMENTARY - Rick Caruso - billionaire developer of retail romance - made money by reimagining Los Angeles one shopping center at a time. He may get a chance to reimagine the entire city if he decides to run for mayor in 2013. (Mayor Villaraigosa is term-limited out.)

Recasting the city's image has been the collective "art" of Los Angeles from the moment its American occupiers settled down to run their small, vulgar, and dangerous town. In 1847, the image of Los Angeles was "our Mexico."

In the boom years around 1900, it was "our Spain" and then "our Italy" and a romantically exotic retreat in the sunshine. Los Angles became "our future" around 1945 as the region transformed itself into the suburban everywhere of modern America.

By the mid-1990s, the city, marginalized by its suburbs, had become the sum of the suburbs' greatest fears.

The image of Los Angeles today merges all of these places: barrio, suburban bunker, Blade Runner stand-in, and threatened paradise.

To these, Rick Caruso would like to add regional mall - an amalgam of the Grove and The Americana at Brand, including a street trolley. Here's how Tim Rutten put it the other day in the Los Angeles Times:

“Last week, Caruso spoke to a San Fernando Valley audience and repeated not only his familiar critiques -- opposition to the subway, a desire to break up the Los Angeles Unified School District, a call to abolish the gross receipts tax -- but also a sketch of the city's future as he envisions it.

Speaking from "the developer's point of view on how to make Los Angeles more livable," he envisioned neighborhoods each organized around its own shopping center, all of which would be connected by an above-ground light-rail system.”


A developer's image of the city - safe, leisurely, and entertaining - isn't far from what Los Angeles wanted to make of itself in 1900, when electric railways, street trolleys, funiculars, and even cable cars connected the city's neighborhoods.

Los Angeles succeeded in mirroring its early developers' image at least until the 1930s, but at the cost of civil liberties, racial equality, honest politics, labor solidarity, adequate public recreation and so much else.

What the cost of recreating that image might be troubles Rutten:

“Perhaps that is what people want: a Los Angeles in which the last distinctions between public and commercial spaces are swept away; a new sort of city in which the old American notion of lives lived in pursuit of happiness is redefined as an endless chain of convenient commercial transactions.”

Businessmen who run for office are fond - as Caruso is - of redefining citizens as "customers." That shows their lack of imagination. Customers have no moral obligations to each other; citizens do.

(Mathew Fleischer takes a look at these issues from a public transit perspective here.)

(D. J. Waldie, author, historian, and as the New York Times said in 2007, "a gorgeous distiller of architectural and social history," writes about Los Angeles every Monday and Friday at 2 p.m. on KCET's SoCal Focus blog. This commentary was posted first at KCET.org) Photo credit: flickr user R.E.  –cw

Tags: The Grove, Rick Caruso, DJ Waldie, developer, Los Angeles, barrio, Blade Runner, street trolley




CityWatch
Vol 9 Issue 49
Pub: June 21, 2011

 

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