PROTESTING: AMERICAN WAY – Democracy is messy business. It’s in your face. Sometimes it smells bad. Sometimes it won’t shut up. Isn’t it wonderful? I say “God bless it!” … and America, California and Los Angeles.
As the Occupy LA tent city enters its second month with no end in sight, some city leaders are tiring of who they no doubt consider to be the “little people” staked out on the City Hall lawn. As one councilmember imperiously said recently, “They’ve made their statement … it’s time to move on.”
Have they made their point? They’ve only begun to make their point. The conversation is just getting started. Real change doesn’t happen overnight.
Let’s remember that Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Council don’t own City Hall. Their names aren’t on the title. They themselves are occupiers, and temporary ones at that. When they go maybe it will be time for us little people to go from the lawn. But until then, as long as no one is getting hurt, Occupy LA should occupy LA.
I chuckled over the weekend when a local newspaper editorialized that the occupiers should decamp, take showers, put on button-down shirts and start lobbying the government and on college campuses for change. Yes, the newspaper wants the occupiers to go corporate! Pardon me while I chuckle again.
I daresay that more people have Googled “Glass-Steagall” and had their consciousness raised as a result of the Occupy Wall Street movement than ever would have taken notice if the occupiers traded their tents for polite tabletop displays on the campus quad.
I can relate. Not only do I share many of their concerns, particularly about the middle class getting screwed in this country, I share their respect for civil disobedience. It’s the democratic way. It’s the American way. Of course I’ve thought about chaining myself to various edifices to make a point, as most rational people have.
In fact, at the moment I’m preparing for a sleep-in should the City Council decide to move forward on the ridiculous plan to shift to property owners repair responsibility and liability for sidewalk damage due to tree roots, even from city trees. Aren’t these people familiar with the “You Break It, You Buy It” principle, which in this case should be interpreted as “You Broke It, You Fix It”?
For 37 years the city has been responsible for sidewalk repairs due to root damage, in part to protect our urban forest. After neglecting their obligations and letting the situation deteriorate, now some want to transfer the responsibility to property owners, putting the city out of the city business.
Should the issue be seriously considered again, I’m preparing to occupy some other prime real estate in LA. So you know, there’s no better view of Los Angeles than looking out on the city from inside a tent on a councilman’s front yard.
If it comes to it, I figure I’ll start by camping out on Council President Garcetti’s front yard in Silver Lake. (Don’t worry, Eric, I’ll share my GORP.)
After bunking with the Garcettis for a few nights, I’ll shift over to the Mayor’s pad in Windsor Square, hopefully before they’ve finished building the moat, er, wall, around Premier Villaraigosa’s compound. I can only image the parade in and out of that place.
If the sidewalk shift is still under serious consideration, then I’ll head west to Councilman Rosendahl’s house on the Westside. I figure I can pop a tent in his front yard, catch the ocean breeze, and work on my tan, all while making a statement about sidewalk repairs.
Finally, I’ll head to Councilman Parks’ house in Baldwin Hills. I’m sure the chief’s sidewalk is in just fine condition. And why shouldn’t it be? With his salary and pension benefits (Is he double-dipping or triple-dipping? I forget.), Parks no doubt really is in the Top 1%. No wonder he’s not worried about other people’s sidewalks. Let them eat cake.
Yep, God bless democracy. Occupy LA? Camp out in your councilman’s front yard? Whatever it takes.
(Cary Brazeman, a CityWatch contributor, is a neighborhood council board member and founder of LA Neighbors United. Contact him at [email protected] . Learn more about the sidewalks issue at www.LAneighbors.org under “City of Broken Sidewalks.”) -cw
Tags: Democracy, Mayor Villaraigosa, City Hall, City Council, Occupy LA, Occupy Wall Street, sidewalks, sleep-in, Cary Brazeman, Los Angeles, Bernard Parks, Eric Garcetti
Vol 9 Issue 87
Pub: Nov 1, 2011