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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


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LAPD Chalks Its Rubber Bullet Behavior Up to Vandalism

HOW LA’S DOWNTOWN ARTWALK BECAME A CRIME SCENE - When Lance Armstrong came to Los Angeles for a bike ride with 700 of his closest friends, the streets ran yellow with chalked messages of hope and encouragement. Mayor Villaraigosa and then City Council President Eric Garcetti stood in the middle of a heavily chalked Sunset Boulevard to welcome Lance to Hollywood and then the LAPD arrived, not to arrest the chalkers, but to escort the cyclists down Sunset and up Vine to the Ricardo Montalban Theatre.
Waiting inside were Ben Stiller, Ben Harper, Shepard Fairey, LiveStrong CEO Doug Ulman and Nike CEO Mark Parker. It was a night that celebrated the power of Art, Culture, and Sports in changing the world.

For the hundreds of people who couldn’t get inside the Theatre for the program, the streets were their canvas and they spent the evening leaving their mark with yellow chalk provided by LiveStrong.  

The LAPD never objected. In fact their supportive presence lent an air of legitimacy to the activity, after all, it was just chalk.

About a month later, Jesus Castillo was riding his bike home from work when he was run down from behind by a drunk driver who pinned him against a parked car, backed up, and then drove away leaving Jesus to die on Glendale Boulevard in Echo Park.

Cyclists descended on the scene with a Ghost Bike and boxes of chalk, memorializing the tragic incident with a die-in ceremony and with chalked messages that filled Glendale Boulevard.

The LAPD were there in force, standing by as the press covered the event, under the watchful eye of Eric Garcetti’s Deputy.

The streets were yellow, the LAPD were mellow, and eventually everyone rode off into the night.

Chalking the streets is one of the most non-invasive mechanisms of communication available to the masses, it’s quiet, cheap, temporary, and it’s actually quite fun.

Doubters only have to look at events such as Park(ing)Day LA, ArtCycle, and the Olive Festival where children are thrilled to fill the streets with chalked artwork and adults marvel at the skills of the internationally recognized chalk artists who come from around the world to ply their trade, street chalking.

It’s against this backdrop that the LAPD’s actions of last week must be examined.

According to reports, OccupyLA protesters took up arms, in this case pastel chalk wrapped in paper with notes explaining their position, and the seeds of discontent were sown on the streets of Los Angeles during Downtown LA’s monthly Art Walk.

The LAPD responded, there was an acceleration of tension, a tactical alert was called, and the LAPD arrived from all over the city armed with less-than-lethal weapons which they unleashed on the crowd.

The LAPD Commander on the scene gave the command and LAPD officers fired rubber bullets, bean bags, and tear gas at the Art Walk crowd, many of whom claim they were caught in the midst of an action that came with no warning and no opportunity to evacuate.

As the debate over how a non-violent pastel chalk protest turned into a violent melee continues, a petition is circulating calling for an investigation into the LAPD’s heavy-handed handling of the incident.

At the heart of the matter is this simple question. How did the LAPD allow itself to be so easily goaded into less-than-lethal violence in the middle of a crowded public event?

When participants in an advertised Chalk Walk during a crowded Art Walk can so easily draw a violent response from the LAPD, it’s time to evaluate the performance of the professional peace officers responsible for the largest city in the most populated state in the most powerful country in the world.

As one chalker wrote: “Thanks for tainting the justice system.”

We really do deserve better!


(Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at: Stephen@thirdeyecreative.net. You can also find him on Twitter and on Facebook.) Graphics credit: Full Disclosure Network
–cw

Tags: Stephen Box, Rethinking LA, chalk protesters, art walk arrests, LAPD, Downtown Art Walk, Occupy LA, skid row, tactical alert








CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 57
Pub: July 17, 2012

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