Sun08302015

Last updateThu, 27 Aug 2015 7pm

LOS ANGELES Sunday, August 30th 2015 7:28

 'A PROMISE IS A PROMISE'

Special to CityWatch: Can Jorge Ramos Save The American Immigrant Dream?

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA- President Barack Obama’s disappointing failure to champion immigration reform, what The Washington Post called his “immigration train wreck,” may be the consummate example of the failure of the Obama presidency on Latino issues. It is also a tell-tale sign of the potential trouble the Democratic Party could find itself in…

Museum Row’s Billion Dollar Block Party

Tim Deegan
EXCLUSIVE TO CITYWATCH--City planners, developers, community members and other stakeholders are having a block party in the Miracle Mile: no champagne but plenty of stress served to order, depending on who you're aligned with. Issues with development: take a seat. Raising hundreds of millions of dollars for development, take several seats. Here…

What Is It About The Homeless That Makes Us So Angry?

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD--It was a long public hearing at my neighborhood council the other night. Outraged, obviously frightened homeowners were pitted against advocates for the homeless. At least that's how it started, but it's not how it ended. It's curious, but in this contentious culture of ours, it turned out to be possible to have a meeting of the…

Kill the Transit Tax, Kill the Olympics

Ken Alpern
ALPERN AT LARGE-You know, it's indeed possible that there will be enough voters who won't remember (or care about) the current shenanigans and budget games in the City of LA--enough to allow a 2/3 vote to pass a new sales tax measure in November 2016. Then again, maybe enough voters will remember, and the initiative will (like its predecessor…

Headlines Don’t Lie – LA Needs Leadership

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-I’m talking to you as a man who policed Los Angeles streets for over 30 years and established policy for another 14 years -- two years as an elected Charter Reform Commissioner and 12 years as an elected Los Angeles City Councilman. Take a look at the latest Los Angeles News and Breaking Headlines. They tell a frightening story…

Airbnb Just Floats by the PLUM Committee

Tony Butka
THE CITY-I was going to do my usual flip and cynical kind of a piece on the Airbnb hearing, but the issue is too important, and just maybe, all is not lost. The Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee hearing was scheduled in the Public Works Hearing Room, but so many people attended that they had to move it to City Council Chambers…

Bikeshare Comes to Los Angeles … Sort Of

Richard Risemberg
WAITING ON LA--Here’s photographic confirmation that bikeshare has arrived in LA: Not the City of Los Angeles, though; not quite yet. That’s a live bikeshare station in Santa Monica, on Main Street, next to one of the two bike corrals that grace the block south of Ashland. (There’s another and very busy bike corral two blocks north.) This is a…

The Summer of My Discontent ... LA Version

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN--I think there is such a thing as the "Dog Days of Summer" since my usual sunny disposition ... glass half full demeanor ... seems to be out of sorts of late. There is a litany of things that are annoying me, aside from the heat. I am disappointed in our local government ... not all of them, but a majority. Like many of you I studied the…

Marilyn Who? Ask Councilman Krekorian or Mayor Garcetti

Richard Lee Abrams
PRESERVATION POLITICS-Who doesn’t like Marilyn Monroe? Councilmember Krekorian, that’s who! Why else would Councilmember Paul Krekorian support the demolition of one of the most significant homes of Marilyn Monroe? With the blessings of Mayor Garcetti, who believes in eradicating as much of Hollywood’s history as possible, and with the support of…





Record Breaking! Josh Groban sings Trump


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


 

Share