Good morning from the "cut and paste barrio" of "Ciudad de Los Angeles".
As in any initiative that originates from the bowels, correction, office of CD 14 Councilman Jose Huizar, one can expect a turbulent process, mixed with absence of communications and surly staffers.
DO PLANNERS SEE A BROADWAY WITHOUT MEXICANS?: The evening of November 24 saw Broadway teeming with its usual crowds of Latino/Americans who work, shop or own businesses along the thoroughfare. The meeting of the Bringing Back Broadway initiative— which is being spearheaded by City Councilmember Jose Huizar—drew an entirely different crowd over near 5th & Spring on the same evening, when “final concepts for the design of Broadway’s public right of way areas” were shown off. There were lots of European/Americans at the meeting, with design consultants and public officials among the crowd of 50 or so. The swell set seemed to get a kick out of the plans for a makeover of the Broadway streetscape—wider sidewalks, fancy signs, etc. The proposal also indicated that the folks pushing the makeover don’t care much for Broadway in its current form, even if it is one of the busiest streets around, serving tens of thousands of local shoppers and workers each day. Exactly how do these urban planners and assorted wannabes see Broadway and the folks who work and shop there now? Bringing Back Broadway from what?
This should remind the keen CD 14 observer of the Fifteen Group plans for the Wyvernwood Apartment complex that could see potentially thousands of low iincome families displace. Plus for anyone who was at the Boyle Heights filibuster, errr, Townhall meeting, they saw how Wyvernwood Tenant Advocate Elena Popp, was treated when she attempted to speak up about the Wyvernwood issue.
Back to Broadway, we bring you "Jessica Jabberings" (which according to those who have dealt with her, is nothing new).
JESSICA’S JABBERING: Huizar staffer Jessica Wethington Mclean got huffy during the November 24 meeting, claiming that an item in this column a few weeks back erred in reporting that Ezat Delijani hadn’t made anything more than a verbal commitment to restoring the old theaters his family owns on Broadway. Apparently Delijani did send a letter to the board of trustees of Bringing Back Broadway, saying that he would “restore and rehabilitate” the Palace and Los Angeles theaters to make them “accommodating for regular public use.” That appears to be enough for Huizar to push the city to shell out $56 million or more to build a parking garage that would hold the potential to bring big benefits to Delijani’s holdings in the area. Yet Delijani’s letter appears to leave enough room to drive a legal truck through. What is “regular public use,” anyway? Is a letter to the board of the Bringing Back Broadway legally binding in any case? Wethington Mclean didn’t respond to an inquiry seeking clarification on those points (see related story, “Immigrants Carry 1/3 of Local Economy,” Local Heroes, home page; Commentary, “Beware of False Choices...” home page)…
The Los Angeles Garment and Citizen is not the only news organ to express concerns about the Bringing Back Broadway initiative. Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten had this to say in his missive,
which he invokes comparisons to the movie "Blade Runner".
In the film, those "losers" were represented as Asian, Latino and other non-European immigrants. It's a cheap, xenophobic thrill that lent the film some of its appeal in an era made anxious by mass immigration.
It's also an association that inescapably comes to mind when you read the "vision statement" for the proposed Broadway redevelopment. You can search it from top to bottom and never find the word "Latino." What makes that odd is that Broadway has been for decades one of L.A.'s most vibrant shopping streets, though one patronized almost exclusively by working-class Latino immigrants.
Apparently they're invisible to the street's aspiring redevelopers. The authors of this "vision" intone the phrases "eclectic cultural amenities" and "diverse retail options" like a kind of mantra. It is, of course, a euphemistic way of saying, we intend to obliterate Broadway's essentially Latino character -- which has persisted for far longer than the two-decade interlude of glitz in the 1920s and 1930s that the planners hope to revive.
Reading these, one can see some more huffing and puffing in Jessica's near future.
** From Concerned Neighbors of El Sereno regarding the 710 Tunnel Portal
Thanks to all of you who supported our efforts to get the Tunnel Portal moved out of our residential neighborhood. With the dedication of many volunteers, we gathered almost 900 signatures over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. We also succeeded in getting LA City’s Information Technology & Government Affairs Committee to approve the Resolution at their December 1st meeting. In addition, LA32 Neighborhood Council unanimously approved an action item to support the City Council Resolution. Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council has also issued a document in support of the Resolution.
IMPORTANT: The Resolution will not be presented to LA City Council tomorrow, December 4th as we were previously informed. It will not take place until sometime next week. We will continue to gather signatures on the petitions up until the date of the meeting. We will keep you informed of the new date as soon as we hear. Thanks to all of you who helped gather signatures, attended the ITGA meeting, signed our petitions, and who support this effort.
CONCERNED NEIGHBORS OF EL SERENO
"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability,but comes through continuous struggle."- Martin Luther King
** If you need an diversion from politics, I would check this out Saturday.
Book Signing by National Best-Selling Author at Galco’s Only Los Angeles Business Featured in “The Mom & Pop Store” by Robert Spector A discussion and book signing by nationally-renowned author Robert Spector will take place at Galco’s Soda Pop Stop, 5702 York Blvd. in the Highland Park community of Los Angeles on Saturday December 5, 2009 from 12 p.m. noon until 2 p.m.
Galco’s is the only independent business located in Los Angeles County to be featured in “The Mom & Pop Store: How the Unsung Heroes of the American Economy Are Surviving and Thriving.” Spector will autograph and discuss his latest book and why Galco’s is the perfect case study to illustrate how integral independent businesses are to the national economy and that they form the foundation of what makes a neighborhood a community. John Nese, owner of Galco’s, will give a first-person account of the tenacity it takes to be an entrepreneurial business pioneer and how soda pop saved a 100-year-old “mom and pop” business. The book is available for purchase at Galco’s. The event reception will feature a soda sampling and with each book sold a $5-off coupon for any purchase of a case of soda.
The Mom & Pop Store is a personal celebration of independent neighborhood shops, and an appreciation of the men and women whose entrepreneurial vision, passion, persistence, and hard work create the social and economic fabric of our communities.
Galco’s Soda Pop Stop is a unique store that celebrates the freedom of choice and the American spirit of entrepreneurialism. Select from over 450 different sodas in glass bottles and half-forgotten candies (as well as 500 different beers available in the store only).
Just minutes from either downtown Los Angeles or Pasadena, Galco’s is located in the historic Highland Park community of Los Angeles at 5702 York Blvd. (323) 255-7115 www.sodapopstop. com