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Friday, April 14, 2006

Zine vs. The South Central Farmers

This probably falls under the topic, "What the hell was he thinking?"

For some time, a battle has raged over a co-operative farm in South Central Los Angeles. The 14 acre farm has seen hundreds of families grow produce for their families and others.

Now this old, dead Republican Mayor is a big believer in private property rights, and I have to say that if the landowner doesn't want the farm anymore, well it is his right. However, given how unique the property is, and how much it has helped the community, my own personal hope would be the owner would consider options to keep the farm going.

But that's another story, lets get back to our favorite former motorcycle police officer, now City Councilman Dennis Zine.

According to reports, Zine went out to take a look at the farm. Nothing unusual in that, except that Zine did this at 10:00 p.m. on a Tuesday night, in his role of a reserve LAPD officer, in an unmarked police car, with two other officers in tow.

What happened next is a matter of dispute. Zine says he and the officers were harrassed by the farmers, the farmers' group says that one of the officers pulled a gun on a 13 year old girl. (We have two seperate press releases from the farmers' group on Mayor Sam 2, one here and another here. At present, Zine has not issued a formal statement of his own that we are aware of.)

The incident then prompted an angry response from a number of farmers and farm supporters who showed up to comment before the City Council the following day. That lead Zine to make a rare response to the public comment. You can hear the famers (in addition to a few unrelated public commenters) as well as Zine's angry comments by clicking here.

As I said, the facts depend on who you ask. Despite what happened, it takes us back to our main topic...
What the hell was Zine thinking?
Zine had every right as a Council member to go and view the site and find out what was going on. But at 10:00 at night, dressed as a police officer??? How the hell do you inspect a site in the dark?

It was already a voltaile situation and Zine, regardless of intention, made it even worse. With all due respect, it shows a complete lack of judgment in my view. A complete investigation is warranted, and perhaps by an agency other than the LAPD. If the famers' side of the story is true, then we have a big problem here.

I think its going to be a long summer.


Blogger el Blue Demon said:

¡ay caramba! El blue demons thinks its time to get a Latino ready for that seat! Un superestar of lucha libre for CD 3!

April 13, 2006 11:46 PM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

The link doesn't work .

Would love to hear the outburst.

April 14, 2006 1:37 AM  

Blogger El Santo said:

No Way Jose. The Zine Man has a lot of esplaining to do. ¡Esto no me gusta! ¿When is Zine finished? Hopefully sooner than later.

April 14, 2006 1:50 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

If a uniformed police officer shows up on a public street to view a location of an ongoing business dispute, he should not be challenged. He should be welcome. If these cops, including Zine, felt threatened it is the farmers that have some explaining to do. The farmers are asking the City to buy the lot to maintain it as a community farm and this is how they treat the City cops and a member of the Council.

Do not use my money as a taxpayer to support these guys. I would rather it be used to buy more cops.

April 14, 2006 6:15 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Rocky - Part II -

About one week ago someone posted an inquiry about why the Ethics Commission is not investingating Rocky's use of City staff to work on a campaign commercial. If the poster can provide a few more details, I will report the matter to the Commission.

April 14, 2006 6:26 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

LA Weekly did a story on the organizers of the South Central Farmers. They have exploited these hard working families, profited by having concerts and charging money to get in, and have asked about 20 of the farmers and their families to leave because they couldn't make meetings or go to city council to speak. The organizers are people from the Black Panthers, Mecha groups and a lot of radicals. I've heard both sides of the story and ZINE was on the right side. The organizers promote violence, threats and use these poor families. They have their own agenda and are using the farm and families for their cause.

April 14, 2006 6:49 AM  

Blogger Mayor Sam said:

The link was working last night. If someone has a better one, please post it or send it to me. Thank you.

April 14, 2006 8:21 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The only objective response is that both the farmers and Zine were acting like idiots.

April 14, 2006 8:28 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The City messed this up. The property owner is just accerting his rights as a property owner as protected by the constitution. The farmers want the City, meaning taxpayers, to buy it for them. When does it end. When will the middleclass citizens catch a break. How many feel good projects, will the left leaning folks expect them to pay for.

April 14, 2006 8:56 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

there probably were some thugs amongst the farmers group, but what city council member goes to inspect a farm at 10 at night? zine is an idiot.

April 14, 2006 9:00 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The farmers have been using threats and intimidation during this mediation. They have indicated that they will fight to keep the land which is not theirs.

I expect any council person who hears this information to go unannounced to see what the truth is.

Zine did and look what happened. If these farmers are law abiding folks a police officer or council person should be able to show up at anytime and there should be no problems.

Mayor Sam on this one you are that old Brain Dead Republican.

April 14, 2006 9:18 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Zine lives in the valley. I know that he has reserve duty in that specific area, at night. The farmers asked him to visit the farm. I don't see a problem with him stopping by when he happened to be in the area. I think the farmers overreacted. Big deal he shined a light at the farm. It was dark.

As a property owner I am against the farmers. If they want it as a farm, they should start a group to raise money to buy it. Why should the city buy it for them? Should I ask the city to buy me a house? a business? The property owner has the right to do whatever he wants with it. Don't stomp on the right of property owners.

April 14, 2006 9:23 AM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

Why SHOULDN'T Zine -- or anyone else -- be able to go anywhere in this city at 10:00 p.m.?!

Nor do those trespassing on private property have any business hassling anyone who wants to come look at it.

April 14, 2006 9:25 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

If the farmers want the land, they can get a loan and buy it.

April 14, 2006 9:36 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What City Council person goes to inspect a site like this late at night under color of authority as a police officer? Its silly and an invitation to trouble.

Not the first time Council Member Zine has gotten into trouble playing police officer.

April 14, 2006 9:46 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Zine, Smith and Englander love to go play dress up and remind people that they are reserve police officers. At least Zine was a real cop once.

But this is why we need more cops in LA? Sounds to me like they don't have enough to do if 3 of them could go harass some farmers at 10pm. You can't even serve a non-felony warrant after 10pm so this is screwed on all kinds of levels.

April 14, 2006 9:54 AM  

Blogger Phil Krakover said:

The owner of the property is a dispicable human being, but he is, nonetheless, the owner of the property.

These "farmers" are trespassers and lawbreakers. The City of Los Angeles has no right to use MY tax dollars to purchase this property for them or for anyone else.

If they do, there will be a taxpayer's lawsuit which will prevail, and any elected who votes for it is perpetuating an illegal act and wasting public money.

April 14, 2006 10:14 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

9:54 a.m. Exactly. He couldn't serve a warrant at that hour so he thought he'd go check out the farm as he was in the area already. In all honesty, he probably just wanted to be able to say he visited the farm without wasting half a day driving down there from the valley and talking to the people for a couple of hours.

April 14, 2006 10:28 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

As far I understand, the city is not going to buy the land. That's a demand of the farmers (since the city did originally acquire via eminent domain in the late '80s) but that's not how it's gonna happen. The Alliance for Public Land, a private institution is going to be buying the land. State funds are being used I believe to give the city/other groups the OPTION to buy the land until the Alliance has the funds (and they've raised in upwards of 10 mil) to buy the farm. Hopefully they do so soon, this thing is just getting weirder and weirder.

Charlie Carnow

P.S The concerts the farmers held merely requested donations to their cause-they weren't forcing people to pay up as Anon 6:49 would suggest. It was a $5 donation requested and they were selling t-shirts. They have a farmer's market on Sundays, and the farmers themselves can make money to supplement incomes that way but there's no force involved and that goes directly to the farmers. I suggest anybody on the blog go to the farm on Sunday and try some of the food. It's delicious.

April 14, 2006 10:41 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

10:41 Thank you for your sane post. I didn't know that about the farm. I hope they just buy the farm asap and be done with this mess.

April 14, 2006 10:46 AM  

Anonymous Fletcher Bowron said:

i think most people believe that the city should not buy the farm, but then again we buy parks for dogs so why not land for food for children.

hopefully the parties involved can work out a deal to keep the farm going.

despite any of this zine had no business doing what he did - that is the way he did it.

no era una cosa muy elegante a hacer , cowboy.

April 14, 2006 10:47 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Blue jackass

Why promote only Latino candiates? Other ethnic groups alive and well in city.

Mecha wrestlers=racist

April 14, 2006 11:03 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mayor Sam My question is

Why were farmers out farming at 10pm?

Are you sure these were farmers and not drug dealers?

Do drug pushers have a hold on this field and what is exactly planted, marijuana?

April 14, 2006 11:06 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

6:26 AM
While your at it, send Villaraigosa's council staff records working the campaign trail.

April 14, 2006 11:08 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

9:23 AM

Send farmers to Barstow and start a farm.

End of story

April 14, 2006 11:11 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

10:47 fletcher Metcher

Look, I don't want to live in a country with no rights. I live in America and can go anywhere I want anytime I want, get it!

Don't push your commie crap down our throats.

April 14, 2006 11:15 AM  

Anonymous Sharon Sandow said:

Here's the statement regarding this incident.

For Immediate Release
April 13, 2006

(Los Angeles) - Councilman Dennis P. Zine made the following statement today in response to the allegations made by the South Central Farmers regarding an alleged incident which took place Tuesday night:

“In my capacity as a reserve officer, I was working in the area on fugitive warrant detail on Tuesday night along with two full-time LAPD officers. Around 10pm, I expressed an interest in driving through the area known as the “South Central Farms”. The farmers had long been in Council chambers, expressing their interest in having Councilmembers drive through the area, and I took the opportunity to do so per their urging.

While driving through in an unmarked police car, we were nearly struck by a white sport utility vehicle. This vehicle proceeded to tailgate our car as we drove through the area. Out of concern for our safety, we pulled our vehicle over to the curb.

The occupants of the white sport utility vehicle confronted us, asked what we were looking for, and requested our identification. We were dressed in official LAPD jackets with our badges and identified ourselves as LAPD officers. Further, I identified myself as a Los Angeles City Councilman. I provided a business card as proof to the crowd which had now assembled around us, demanding to know who we were and what we were doing in the area. After clarifying why I was in the area, we departed. No further incidents took place.

To my surprise, I was confronted the next morning in Council Chambers by angry farmers claiming I had pulled my weapon on a child during the previous night’s incident. I was shocked and angered to hear these groundless accusations. On many occasions, the South Central Farmers have come to the Council Chambers and demanded that Council take action, show an interest in their plight, and come visit the farms. This was my intention - to visit the farm without fanfare - and to see firsthand where the site is located and how it is utilized. This was my first visit to the location.

Instead of appreciation for my interest, I was accused wrongfully of actions which are not only factually false but are entirely repugnant to me as a Councilman and as a retired and current LAPD officer. I am outraged at the baseless lies which are being put forth by the South Central Farmers and will be unable to support their cause given their use of harassment as a tactic to gain media attention.”

April 14, 2006 11:21 AM  

Blogger Phil Krakover said:

It is The Trust for Public Land that is buying the property. The "farmers" have no vested right to use it, unless they enter into leases in which they pay a sum to rent the property.

Will they harass the TPL as well?

Time will tell.

No good deed goes unpunished.

April 14, 2006 11:44 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

In the audio file, a woman says they were just getting ready to sit down to dinner. If Zine just drove a car in the area and shined a light, I think the farmers overreacted. Why were they so defensive, if they were? Are they doing something illegal there? Prostitution, drug dealing, selling stolen goods, living on the property when it's not zoned for living...? When I see a cop car, I don't freak out and demand to know why they're driving near my house. I'm grateful that they are.

April 14, 2006 11:54 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mayor Sam! Did you see that! Zine's people read your blog! Sharon Sandow herself posted Denny's spinmeistering!

April 14, 2006 12:04 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hey 11:06 AM,
The farmers aren't really farming at 10 AM, basically the farm is split into sections where each section has a captain and each captain has a certain night where they stay over at the farm to ensure the sheriffs dont come in the middle of the night and evict them. People bring tents and stuff. On Mondays they show documentaries and stuff, I've personally never been but it sounds pretty fun. The truth of the whole incident is probably somewhere in between Zine's story, and the Farmer's story because unless he wanted to camp out at the farm (which they welcome) I'm not sure why he would just suddenly show up and then again I can understand that they probably overreacted when they saw the police given that they are there because to prevent the farm from being destroyed in the middle of the night. Hope this added some context.

Charlie Carnow

April 14, 2006 12:07 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Oops meant to say 10 PM

C Carnow

April 14, 2006 12:07 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I support Zine. The organizers are using these farmers. They have told the farmers it is mandatory that some of them stay at night just in case the marshals want to evict them. They're not telling them that if there's children with them they can be taken away if they're breaking the law. The organizers have the same mentality like the illegals. They think they are entitled to whatever they want even if they're breaking the law. Antonio was trying to take the land by emiment domain. What ever happened to that?

April 14, 2006 12:16 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

It makes more sense now after reading these posts. The farmers overreacted to police presence as they thought they might be forced off the property at night. I wonder if Zine knew that he might be faced with this reaction if he showed up at night.

April 14, 2006 1:29 PM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

for those who can't hear it from the link on the post. go to the url above.

April 14, 2006 2:02 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Zine knew the situation was already tense. They were on guard for police officers. Yea they shouldn't be afraid of them, but the history down there ain't so great. He should have gone in the daytime.

April 14, 2006 2:35 PM  

Anonymous Fred Sanford said:

My boss was saying yesterday, "Dennis, Dennis, Dennis."

April 14, 2006 2:46 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

11:54 You said it perfectly.

Why are farmers at the farm at 10pm?

April 14, 2006 2:56 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

They were probably at the farm to harvest their night crops. You know, some people think of various plants when you say "Yerba Buena"... wink wink. Some of those organizers down there look like if they put their yerba buena in bongs or magic brownies.

April 14, 2006 2:58 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Charlie Carnow

The land is to farm not to camp out. It smells rotten. Something is wrong with this picture of farmers sleeping over to avoid eviction. Rebel tactic.

April 14, 2006 2:59 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Yerba Buena?

Have you seen the farmers? I agree bong smoking farmers pick the fields from 10pm-2am.

I hear business is good down there.

April 14, 2006 3:03 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Years ago, when I first started at City Hall, the joke was that you would know when the city had gone to Hell when Tom LaBonge, Dennis Zine and Greig Smith all become councilmen. There was always a chuckle and the comment "it'll never happen."


April 14, 2006 3:29 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The organizers of the farmers are constantly sending out propaganda threatening violence if anyone tries to take the land away. They tell the farmers to stand strong regardless if the marshals show up to evict them. They have sent out e-mails to harrass Councilwoman Perry, Antonio and now Zine. They've protested many times at the owner's business. All because they've had that land FREE for over a decade. The law is the law.

April 14, 2006 3:48 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

hey asshole, just because Padilla is a crook doesn't mean all latino politicians are!!!

get used to it PAL'

April 14, 2006 4:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I will start an asian revolt against too much latino politcians.

April 14, 2006 4:18 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

John & Ken KFI want people to send toliet brushes to city hall. Its as cheap as $1.29

April 14, 2006 5:36 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

It was a stupid thing to do...so I heard the city took the land way back then had to give it back because they didnt develop it. someone goofed here. what a mess. I dont blame the farmers but then again, they are not in the right here. didnt they give them another plot?


April 14, 2006 6:18 PM  

Blogger El Santo said:

"The organizers promote violence, threats ..."- Anon 6:49

Of course the farmers are on the defensive but they dont promote violence. ¿But who isn't? Ah Caramba, I forgot that the LAPD doesn't use violence, threats, and mainly to cover thier asses. I respect some cops, but many are idiots. ¿Why mystify and complcate the situation?

¡Have some huevos and go during the day Zine!

April 15, 2006 9:23 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

This is another Delgadillo screw up. He got the Council to sell the land to Mr. Horowitz, its former owner. The deal still stinks.

The city got cheated out of millions of dollars when it sold for $5 million. The property is worth three times that amount. Rocky said that Horowitz had a right to the land because the city failed to build an incinerator on it, the reason why the city took the land in the first place. This is totally wrong legal advice.

Once the city took the land by eminent domain, it was the city's to use as it saw fit.

Of course, Horowitz is a delgadillo campaign donor. More disgusting pay for play!

April 15, 2006 9:26 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

el santo you're a disgrace to wrestling.

You typical anticop poster high school dropout bong smoking mexican.

April 15, 2006 4:32 PM  

Blogger El Santo said:

Anon 4:32...

¿I'm a typical Mexican right? ¿Or should I be mowing your lawn? ¡Gracias for your honesty! And I'm sure you never thought yourself to be a racist. If I smoked MOTA I wouldn't have this body. I never said I hate los policias, but I do know some stupid cops. There are stupid people everywhere, like in your profession.

¡You deserved to be clotheslined!

April 15, 2006 7:34 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Plain and simple, Zine you're an idiot.

April 15, 2006 10:01 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The council needs to look into why the city gave the land away for so little. It is obvious that the farmers are not perfect, but still, why did the council vote to give Mr. Horowitz his land back when it did not have to. Answer that question and you will learn how the city works?

April 15, 2006 10:16 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What ever happened to squatter's right?

April 16, 2006 7:40 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Let's see, the City may work a deal to buy the land for the "farmers". If City funds (taxpayers) are used for this purchase, I believe that citizenship should be checked so that land is not given away to foreign entities. Anyways, since when do illegal aliens who are temporarily allowed to use land entitled to own it? Get outta here, already!

April 17, 2006 11:04 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What were the farmers doing there at 10 PM? Do they also live (squat) there? Maybe that's why Zine's secret police were there, to check the scene out.

April 17, 2006 12:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Yeh, yeh. Doesn't matter what we think. They carried on in Council so long that they set everyone up. The Council had no choice but to figure a way to pay off the legitimate land owner and GIVE the land to the protesters so they can all look PC on this one in the next election.

So they slip some big money to the Trust For Public Land or whatever other entity and the bait and switch is never noticed by us jerks--the taxpayers. No, instead, we'll hike our trash fees and pretend it's going for more cops and instead will give repay the money to the TPL, which is really to shut up the developer and kiss ass the protesters. Nice going guys.

April 18, 2006 6:30 PM  

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