Zine vs. The South Central Farmers
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.