Racism is a Business


“Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

Every time there is an incident involving alleged white-on-black violence we can predict the public appearance of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. It is as predictable as the appearance of Gloria Allred when an allegedly abused woman pops up in the news…

Attorney Gloria Allred

In light of the nationwide response to the Treyvon Martin verdict, it seems to a fitting time to recall the Clinton-era adage used so famously by Rahm Emanual, Senior Advisor to the president, and currently serving as mayor of Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

It was originally attributed to Winston Churchill. And what of it?

Civil Rights leaders are responding exactly as they do; supporting the disenfranchised and bringing the nation’s attention to the victims. We regard these as the people who uphold freedom for all and a nation of equality, right? Aren’t they the people who bring justice to the aggrieved?

Maybe. But racism and bigotry are big business. And these so-called Civil Rights leaders are winning big.

The American Cancer Society would go out of business if we were to find a cure for cancer.  So too, would such civil rights leaders go out of business if we did not continue to find bigotry and racism in every nook and cranny.

It can be argued that, in a nation that is predominately run by old white men, the United States has turned a corner by nominating black, Latino and female candidates to the Presidency. Ultimately, a black man, President Barak Obama, was elected to the highest office in the land, and arguably the most important and powerful office in history.

Which also begs the question, are we a racist nation? Would that happen in Mexico? Japan? Sweden? Argentina? England? Anywhere else? It is highly unlikely.

President John F. Kennedy

Racism is one of the signature issues of the Left, following the Civil Rights Act of 1964, banning discrimination and racial separation and ensuring equal opportunity under Democratic President John F. Kennedy.

And as for these civil rights organizations, what kind of money are we talking about? Its hard to say.

Rev. Al Sharpton

Now, let’s look at the Reverend Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Push Coalition and the Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network. Both of these men have called for nation-wide rallies on behalf of Treyvon Martin.

Rev. Jesse Jackson

Treyvon (or Trayvon) Martin is prominently featured on both of their websites with righteous indignation and calls to action. Both men have used this cause to take advantage of the national spotlight. Donation buttons are being pushed.

Untitled 2 copy

Rainbow Push Website

As for the annual salary each man commands, both are paid through “religious” organizations, meaning they are not subject to scrutiny or oversight. Discovering how much each organization rakes in from donations or the actual net worth of each organization is also a secret. Neither organization has been audited. Quite frankly, who would dare audit them?

sharpton2 copyBut the history of the Democratic party is not so linear. Republican president Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, declaring the freedom of all slaves in the Union. This Executive Order is arguably the most courageous presidential act in the history of the United States.

Jim Crow States in red

Yet – it was the Southern Democrats who created the Jim Crow laws to deny rights of citizenship to freedmen for generations to come. In practice, blacks were thus treated with the subtle hatred of bigotry that permeated the south following the loss of the Civil War and the dominance of the Union. In order to preserve that white supremacy, Jim Crow laws, which alleged “separate but equal” treatment for blacks, actually ensured that blacks had separate facilities and poor quality in every area of life. They were denied access to loans, education, bathrooms – everything. And they denied blacks the right to vote by imposing unreasonable and impossible restrictions on them.

(Recently, the Supreme Court lifted some of the oversight that had been put in place to ensure that blacks had equal access to ballots, a law that has been misused to allow anyone the right to vote, including felons and non-citizens, and even, some allege, the dead. And Attorney General Eric Holder is ignoring the Supreme Court ruling and going after states that have voter identification requirements. )

After generations of Southerners had held slaves the culture itself worked like apartheid. Legal requirements be damned; blacks held no power, had no access to the law or courts, could not speak for themselves and had no one to speak for them. It was the planter aristocracy who were the Southern Democrats that made those Jim Crow laws, to keep themselves in the dominant power and to ensure that no blacks could participate in the democratic process. The National Democratic party did nothing; their silence endorsing the wicked motives and cowardly actions of Southern whites.

It is only since the second half of the Twentieth Century that Democrats have been associated with civil liberties. And now, oddly, it can be said that they “own” it!

But that is not because they have they have been the keepers of the faith… Far from it! It is  because they have used it to their advantage, as the lens through which they see their opponents, as the method of divide-and-conquer rule that has garnered together a coalition of odd bedfellows to win elections. They have used racism and bigotry as a tool for compiling billions of dollars in support for their legislators, politicians and organizations that wave this banner.

Who can blame them? They surged through the sixties, taking advantage of the Vietnam War and burgeoning women’s movement to create a new niche and cobble that coalition of disenfranchised together.

It would be unbalanced if I did not point out that the same is true of the right.

They have made millions recently on the IRS scandals that have rocked the current administration. Conservatives and Tea Party groups have taken to defending their rights to a fair and balanced tax system that allows them the same rights and privileges that the Rainbow Push Coalition has. The same can be said of support for gun ownership and the Second Amendment, pro-life groups and small business advocacy, for example. These organizations that sprang up in the wake of Reagan’s legacy to defend conservative causes only blossomed from the liberal push of the Clinton White House. Through the 90′s and to the present many of these organizations that were once fledging ideas have become institutionalized, including Fox News, the Heritage Foundation and Townhall, to name a few.

Every scandal draws its supporters and my purpose is to point out that it behooves us to be discerning in how we process these scandals. In fact, do these organizations prolong the problem to generate funding and grow their organizations, or do they help solve the problem? I think it is the former.

How does it help to rally against the verdict in the Zimmerman case? Has justice really been denied? Is it really valid to use public opinion to force a second trial for Mr. Zimmerman, possibly a Double Jeopardy case? Should that happen, won’t it set a images-2precedent for this to happen again? Isn’t this how we get into trouble?

Perhaps it is a matter for each individual to examine their role in the national conscience and determine for him self or her self a path to defy injustice, thus bypassing these huge organizations that depend on conflict to support their business. At least on some level, we citizens should be responsible enough to avoid contributing to the problem by contributing to these organizations.

Like the American Cancer Society they are hard pressed to insure that these issues remain on the table to keep the money flowing in their direction. As long as there is a dime to be made from Treyvon Martin’s tragic death it will remain on the front page of the Rainbow Push Coalition and the National Action Network websites.

The difference is this: at least there is work being done on cancer research and treatment. Money is being spent to help defray medical costs. Something helpful is happening. But when the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons ignite the racist flame all the gains we have made in racial bias and prejudice seem to be lost. Often, the damage that is done from these rallies can ruin a neighborhood for decades, as in the case of the LA riots in 1992. Once again, we are “a house divided.”

In 1963, the Reverend Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream.” He said, “A man should not be judged by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.”

King dreamed of a colorblind society. Instead of creating a world where we judge our fellows by the content of their character, we have Balkanized into a fractious nation of colors, sexes, ethnicities and socio-economic differences. We are judged and we judge. In the wake of the Martin verdict, when a nation should sigh at the decision of a jury of its peers, we are incited.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hollywood Writer’s Cottage ReDo for a Family










Posted in Business, Green, Health, Published/ News, Stories, Urban Mavericks, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Breadcrumbs On the Sidewalk

Latte carrying home a treat from Peets Coffee

Dear Neighbor: Thank you for your kind heart, putting bread out for the birds. The birds don’t eat it. My dog does. Its killing her. Would you mind keeping it to yourself for now? Thank you. Have a nice day!


I love my dogs so much that I’d rather hang out with them than anyone I know, frankly. Maybe I should examine that, but I don’t think I care. Not today.

I left my building this afternoon to take my dog for a walk. We walk four times a day, no matter what, rain or shine. Often, it is more; never less.

One of my dogs, my boy Chai, is keeping my daughter company while she isolates to study for the California Bar Exam. That leaves me with just the one, my girl Latte, who is getting up there in years.

Latte is magnificent. She is fully coated with long, silky feathers. She has an extraordinary face that features a shortened stop and golden-colored eyes. It makes her unusually pretty and reflects her innate intelligence. We have a psychic connection, she and I, meaning that we intuit each other well. The only time there is a need to talk or enforce a direction is when she doesn’t see eye-to-eye with me on something. Otherwise, I can trust that she and I will meander at her pace down the sidewalk together, usually exchanging looks and hanging out together. I stop, she stops, and vice-versa.

We can be seen about the neighborhood doing chores and hanging out. I go to the store, she hangs out outside and waits, sucking up the affection of strangers.

It was a mild, early summer day in Los Angeles. Mid-afternoon on a Friday, everything seemed peaceful. Latte walked directly to her favorite spot and squatted, as she always does. I vacuously scanned the sidewalk and the street, preoccupied with matters of great spiritual and financial interest. I have not been having a stellar day.

Thinking about that I did not pay attention when Latte un-squatted and began to saunter up the street and found something to focus on. When I came out of my reverie it dawned on me that she had been in the same spot a wee bit longer than normal.  I walked over and realized that the mysterious bread crumb lady had left bread crumbs on the sidewalk – yet again – this time on the lawn in front of my building.

Heretofore that had been unthinkable. The bread crumbs had appeared only at neighboring buildings. But now that woman (I am assuming that she is a “she”) was crossing an invisible boundary line and it really pissed me off.   I tried giving Latte a verbal command – and she would not relent. She was into eating her bread. Her M.O. is to eat as much as possible before I physically stop her when there is food on the ground, and this breadcrumb thing is manna from heaven.

So I tried to direct her with my knee. She wasn’t giving in. So I gave her a little tap with my hand to break the spell and move her away from the bread. Bread is a substance that I regard as poison to my dogs. Aside from being unhealthy and unnatural, my two Golden Retrievers seem to get hot spots from bread. The wheat does not sit well with them. I try to keep them away from it as much as possible.

Once they get an itch, either from an exterior source like a flea bite, or an internal source like a food allergy, a dog can carve a hole in his or her own flesh faster than anyone can stop them. Once the damage has occurred, it sets up a chain reaction; biting, healing, scab, itching, biting healing, scab, infection, itching, worse biting and so on.

And the treatment options are abysmal. First, the animal has to have the area shaved to clear away bacteria-trapping hair. That alone, can take months to regrow. Its a painful reminder, long after the condition has cleared up. Then, they can get cortisone shots, which are not a long-term solution because they can weaken bones. Cortisone is not effective right away either, and even a few minutes wait can allow enough time to make it worse. They can get topical anti-itch salves, but they just lick it off and itch anyway. Antibiotics by injection or orally help keep the infection checked, but do nothing for the itch. Antihistamines do not help much either, but Benadryl is a cheap over-the-counter pill that makes the “parents” feel like they are participating in their dog’s recovery.

The most effective tool for recovery is the most visible, the old Elizabethan collar, the Cone of Shame. It comes out in my house whenever there is a hot spot. The trick is to leave it in place no matter what – until the whole thing is totally gone, keeping the wound clean, shaven and as free of further irritation and bacteria as possible on a dog. Such a wound can take months to heal completely. I have had the “E-collar” on Chai for as long as three months.

When I saw the bread on the sidewalk I was irritated at whoever-the-hell-thinks-of doing-this. All I wanted was to remove Latte from the bread.

Across the street on her cell phone, a woman in a minivan watched me interact with Latte. She yelled out across the street – “You’re hitting your dog!”

I boldly looked at her across the street with her minivan and her entitlement issues being a busy-body with no idea what she was talking about.  I wanted to kill her.

“REALLY? REALLY? Do you have a dog? Do you know anything about dogs?”

“Yes, I do.” (“A fru-fru dog, probably,” I thought.)

“Did you put the bread crumbs on the lawn that are poisoning my dog?” (“Ha! that will turn it around,” I thought)

“No! I did not!”

“Sure. I believe that!” (“Take that, Busybody!”)

I started walking my off-leash dog down the street, fit to kill someone.  As I walked away I realized that this woman was uninformed. She had no idea what the backstory was.

Maybe under other circumstances, it would be unusual to see someone work a dog like I did. I am a dog trainer. It is a technique in body blocking to move another animal that dogs use amongst themselves. It is definitely not a strike; the wrist is limp and flicked to make a quick movement that will break concentration. Dogs do it with their heads, their shoulders, their hips. They move their fellows about to show who is in control or to get the other dog’s attention.

In this case I was trying to keep my dog from being poisoned by some stupid bread crumbs.

Latte is off leash because she has an issue with her trachea. Trained as she is, I do not want to put any pressure on her throat and we have never been comfortable with any harnesses that are out there. Her short stop makes anything that goes around her face uncomfortable because she cannot open her mouth to breath. Its best to keep her off leash, and as I say, we don’t need a leash.

Besides that, my little girl is fragile. She is barely getting around. She is in pain. She can barely stand and walk anymore. She is unstable. I don’t want to knock her down or risk hurting her by pulling her away from the bread.

That busybody had no way of knowing that!  As I walked away fuming I thought about a prayer I utter each day when first I awaken in the morning. It is the hardest promise I have ever made. “Let me be kind today.”

I was not kind or loving. I was mean. I was angry. And as I walked away, I was everything I did not want to be.

Worse, I was hateful!

I don’t ever want to be hateful, but there it was.

How do I get back to “even” from there? Its like being talked down off a precipice. What happened?

What had happened was that the day had not gone well. First, my computer needed to get to the Genius Bar at the Mac Store first thing; my hard drive seemed to be crashing. And once there, the appointment went ‘way over the expected time. That meant that the work I was supposed to do was cancelled by my next client, a “minus” income, big-expense day.

Then the computer. My problem was systemic and I had to it leave it there to see if they could reinstall the operating system or if they had to replace the hard drive. I was going to lose everything on my hard drive.

It was affecting me.

Then I went home and tried to eat something.

There, my mother had had a problem with her homeowners association and I had tried to help her. I had sent an email that I hadn’t gotten anything back from the HOA and the management. Then, an email came to tell me that they had all spoken with my mother.

She had not told me. And yet again, here I was on really budgeted time, trying to help and ending up with faulty information and a problem that was created out of a lack of communication.

By then, I had a little bit of “I hate you, too” going with my own mother. But at least I back-tracked on that and said sorry all the way around.

It worked out ok, but its embarrassing to be making a stink(like someone with entitlement issues, ahem) about things for no reason.

When I walked out that door today, I was loaded with toxic gas. It only took a second and I was off.

Have I learned anything about our spiritual well-being or how to stay even? As I walked the dog up the street, I was sick.

How could I get past this physical feeling in my stomach? The answer? Distraction. Doing something of service for another person in need. I was on my way to the grocery store for my mother. The sooner I got there, the better.

All I needed was to put something between me – and all the stuff that had happened so far.

I have learned a lot in the past few years, and one of the most significant things is that distraction works. Service works, too. And in time, everything changes.

No matter what anyone says, we can rarely, if ever, predict the future. Who knows what is going to happen? Its never as bad as all that. Something will happen that will change it. If you can distract yourself long enough and perhaps do something good for the world, for someone you love or for a stranger in need – you can use your time well while you wait.

There will always be HOA problems. There will always be computer problems. Someone will keep putting old bread on the sidewalk (why, I cannot imagine!) Latte will continue to eat bread. It is me who has to change my attitude.

Thank GOD its Friday!

Posted in Personal Essays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Richard’s Cane – an elderly neighbor’s dignity and independence are tied to his stolen cane

Two days ago, walking my dogs, I noticed an elderly neighbor taping something to the handle of a shopping cart on the sidewalk in front of his apartment building. I tried to say hello, but he was intent. So I let it drop and continued on my way. Later that night I passed the shopping cart again with my dogs. I had forgotten about the incident until I noticed a note taped to the cart, which read:


Richard's note on the shopping cart

with the author’s address and phone number, signed, “Richard,” in a beautiful, legible signature.

I live in Brentwood, a suburb of Los Angeles in California. It is an upscale community about three miles inland from the Santa Monica beach. Who in this neighborhood, would want to take Richard’s cane?

I met Richard five years ago. Having two golden retrievers in an apartment means that I have to walk them four times a day. I meet everyone on the street and I have come to know all the locals. My dogs love him. He always shares praise with them and a friendly scratch behind their ears. His voice is upbeat and loving. His demeanor is kind. He has friendly blue eyes that light up when he talks. Most days, Richard wears shorts and an old patagonia-style vest, with sandals and socks. He has the look of a retired schoolteacher, though I don’t know what his profession was.

A year ago, I encountered him walking towards me carrying a bedside urinal. He explained that he had driven to the hospital a few days before and was admitted for some undisclosed illness. He had been released and he was feeling unwell. It was the first time I realized how alone he is. Richard does not seem to have any family to help him out in trying times. I wondered if his neighbors were helping him out?

At some point I started to feel badly about not knowing the details of his life. Does anyone know him? Does anyone know what he did for a career? Does he have children, an ex-wife? Is he a widow? Did he have a career? What did he do with his life? What is his history?

Shortly afterwards, I began to see him collecting recyclables up and down the boulevard business district a few blocks from his building. He was dumpster diving, trash trolling. It grieved me that he was competing with a bunch of pros who come to this neighborhood from other sections of town to do the same thing. But I put the thought away because there was nothing I could do. I am struggling to pay my own bills in this economy.

I soon noticed Richard with not one, but two canes, trying to get along with his bag of recyclables. I realized that his health had been sorely compromised and that he was unable to afford to the kind of medical care he probably needed. But sometime later he appeared in a motorized wheelchair, replete with flags and bags of recyclables.

Richard drives an ancient minivan that is filled with plastic and cans. Sometime in the past six months, he lost his left front fender. I wondered how he was going to do the wheelchair bit with his vehicle. Apparently, it didn’t work. The wheelchair disappeared and  he was still using the cane or canes to get around again. And then this note appeared on the shopping cart.

Now, shopping cart theft is illegal. But I think he has been using this cart to help collect recyclables for awhile. I don’t know if he lifted it or it was there and he took advantage of it. But in my head, the scenario is that he had a bag of stuff in there and left his cane while he turned to put it in the car, parked most days on the street near his place. And that is when the theft occurred.

I have had this on my mind for two days now. It is truly painful. It made me feel so sad. It could be me, struggling one rung down the ladder. It could be anyone we love. Health declines and without a support system, what then? Where will we be? In this city, in this world, this economy, who has time to think of an old man without his cane? Has anyone responded? Or has he been deluged with donations and calls to help? I don’t know. I can only imagine and hope for him, and for all of us, that someone cares.

I cannot bring him back his health, his dignity or his cane. Nor can I erect a supportive family for him. I can only be an observer in this affair and hope that whoever did the deed will return the cane.


Posted in Personal Essays, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


(L-R) ca. 1995; Darin (Stepson), Bill Talbot (Deceased ex-husband), Victoria (Author), Christopher (Stepson) and (Daughter) Eliza in happier times.


By Victoria Talbot


Until last year I did not think much of death.

Doggie death seemed real to me. When my first Golden Retriever, Marcus, retrieved his final ball it seemed as if the grief would never end. It reaches out across time and grips me to this moment. Dogs later, I am still struck with grief as I reel off their hallowed names – Pesky, who lived to be 26, JoJo, Chico, Tommy, Donner – they bring grief to this day.

When my father died, I could not believe that he had passed away without explaining himself to me. How, I wondered, had he justified leaving his offspring to fend for them selves with that crazy woman who was our mother? How could he do that to us? Yet in the end, there was no explanation except that he felt so justified in leaving that hellhole that he did not think there was a need for an explanation.

Continue reading

Posted in Personal Essays, Stories, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Closer Look at Parking on San Vicente

There is more parking on San Vicente than you know!

Parking time is limited to one-hour on San Vicente Blvd.
Metered parking is 85-95% full in the San Vicente Business District
Residents and employees vie for precious residential street parking
PDFS (1)
The San Vicente Business District that CE studied

Brentwood Community Council (BCC) received the results of a parking survey from Mott Smith atCivic Enterprise Associates (CE) at their Jan. 3 meeting. Commissioned in April 2010, the comprehensive study found that even during peak hours, hundreds of spaces in the area are still empty.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that street parking is “over-subscribed,” said Smith. On weekdays at lunch, those 280 spaces are 90 percent full. They are also full at the dinner hour, especially on weekends.

Continue reading

Posted in Politics and Civic Affairs, Published/ News | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 1% Defined @ #OWS


UPDATE (4:15 pm, 11/17/11, PDT): On the 2-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, protesters in New York City staged an allegedly peaceful march. It continued throughout the day with police in riot gear assisting occupiers to move out of Zuccotti Park; 400 arrests were made. Similar activity in Occupied Areas across the country are resulting in arrests and police activity throughout the country.

OWS protestors get invited to leave, November 17, 2011

At home, in Los Angeles, 23 Occupiers were arrested following a march that blocked traffic. The first arrest was 82-year-old Bertha Jordan, a union member. One participant tweeted the following:

@FrancisHerreroFrancis Herrero
@Hope_ful1980@OccupyLA – I think it would be funny if we all claim to be #OLA’s leder. Singular.
Occupy Wall Street (OWS) sharpens class rhetoric and solidifies the us-against-them argument in the image of the “99%.” Most of us understand intuitively who that 1% is – like when Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart described pornography: “I know it when I see it.”

Their rhetoric is rich with philosophy and conclusions that are supported by mind-numbing

Nancy Pelosi has a chat with Christiane Amanpour about OWS (ABC)

nit picking. Somehow, using the art of sound byte, the occupiers have forced us to deny our own instincts about sanitation. People around the occupation politely avoid discussions that may appear politically incorrect. Yet, after two months with limited facilities and in close quarters, there are reports of scabies and ringworm at various sites throughout the country. Good thing they are practicing nit picking!

Continue reading

Posted in Art + Culture, Movers and Shakers, Politics and Civic Affairs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment



Armed Robbery at a 7-11 in Brentwood?

The 711 on Wilshire Blvd. in Brentwood

The 7-11 Store in Brentwood where an armed robbery took place  on October 6 (Vicki Talbot)
Brentwood is a sleepy little LA burg that doesn’t know from crime; just the occasional car thefts and small-time burglars looking for computers for drug money, a few white collar criminals and some neighborly feuds, divorces and custody battles. So the morning of October 6 was a wake up call.
What Happened?
First of all, yes, there is a 7-11 in Brentwood. Its located at 11656 Wilshire Boulevard, just west of Federal.
Thursday, October 6, at 5 a.m., two suspects entered the 7-11 store wearing hoodies, baseball caps, white plastic painter’s suits and painter’s masks.


In the store’s security video we see the first suspect enter the store. He runs up to the manager in the aisle, where he is training a new employee. The robber jabs the poor guy in the back of the neck with a handgun and forces him to the floor. Then he drags the guy across the floor to the cash registers and the safe, behind the counter. The suspect is in such a hurry that he doesn’t see his friend enter the store. Like a scene out of the Keystone Cops, he bumps into him as the accomplice enters the aisle. They almost blew it right there.

The second guy grabs the employee, and forces him to the ground. “Stay on the ground,” he yells. The employee lies still, face down on the floor, but the guy keeps yelling, ”Stay on the f-ing ground.” Then, he runs up to the counter and retrieves the firearm from the first guy and runs back down the aisle with the gun. That is simply ODD.

Behind the counter, off the video, we can hear the muffled conversation between the manager and the first guy. The manager explains he cannot open the safe. He sounds surprisingly calm, like maybe he did this before? The frustrated burglar yells, “He won’t open the safe!”
“Try the cash register,” his friend says. The manager comes back into the screen and opens the register.
Then, in a strange twist, an “Unknown Witness” enters the store. She drops a few bucks on the counter. “Just getting a refill,” she says, walking over to the coffee, oblivious that an armed robbery is in progress. The second suspect hangs back in the aisle while the first one tries the second register. Then the two run out the door. The “Unknown Witness” is completely oblivious, still pouring her coffee.
Burglary in Brentwood

How did the “Unknown Witness” miss that? Perhaps she just didn’t have that “street sense.” She was probably a local. There is no crime in Brentwood. But heck! She walked right past two guys in those matching weird getups and  one other guy on the floor. Well, this is L.A. after all, but really? When the robbers leave, she is still waiting for her commuter cup to fill.

Detective Stan Evans of the LAPD noted that the closest thing to burglary in Brentwood were three armed robberies in the Westwood area. Of course, that is on the OTHER side of the 405; it could take an hour to get under that bridge and into the Brentwood area.

Posted in Politics and Civic Affairs, Stories | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Personal Thanksgiving Story

Zac, E. Jack, John, me and Irene, 1956, Christmas


The aroma of sautéed onions, celery and garlic combined with the thrill of anticipation and the bustle of activity in preparation for the arrival of so many beloved but not oft seen people; that is my earliest sacred and cherished memory of Thanksgiving. It was a day cloaked in scents; bathed in rich, fall colors; infused with delicacies, delights and surprises; and most of all, embellished with the joy of renewed relationship.

The house itself began preparation weeks ahead, my father in the yard and my mother nesting. On the days leading up, ceremonial items began to appear in the dining room for later use. They were the trays, the silver, the serving utensils, the plates and silver – all the things that materialized from nowhere during the holiday season.

Continue reading

Posted in Personal Essays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hey Mayor, Councilman! OccupyLA isn’t Moving!


An Occupier expresses his opinion at Occupy LA

After Oakland debacle, there is tension in LA


Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Occupy LA was dealt a stunning blow one day after police action in Oakland left an Iraqi War veteran seriously injured. City Councilman, Bill Rosendahl and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gave LA Occupiers notice that, like a pushy relative, the group had worn out their welcome.


Meanwhile, 24-year old Scott Olsen suffered a fractured skull in a skirmish with police in Oakland, California, when demonstrators failed to leave the site where they were protesting.


After 26 days of unrestrained and relatively peaceful occupation on the lawn at City Hall, Rosendahl told KABC TV, “It is time to move on. The trees are in the process of being impacted. The grass is being impacted. Other activities that we need to do on the lawns are being put on the back burner.


At Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s office, Communications Director Tony Arranago said, “We are working on a statement right now. Please check the councilman’s Twitter (@Bill_Rosendahl) and Facebook account.” Well, no more statements have been forthcoming, but Mayor Villaraigosa chimed in. “The protestors are welcome to stay, but they don’t have an open invitation to stay indefinitely,” said his spokesman, Peter Sanders.


OccupyLA protestors have vowed not to move in statements made at the open mike in their Wednesday evening General Assembly meeting. The group claims no leadership, so it’s hard to tell, but the unfiltered shares throughout the evening reflected a solid “hunker-down” attitude. Occupiers are gearing up for a fight that could get nasty on both sides.



The group did issue a statement on their “official” website in response to Villaraigosa’s remarks, saying this: “As for a time stamp on our departure, there is none.”


Some OLA supporters who are experts in different fields have been offering advice to the occupiers to help them avoid confrontations as in Oakland, Atlanta and New York. Live stream chatterers texted throughout the night, like this:


dave494: if we were to break camp every day,,then we would save the lawn, and it would push out the shiftless and lazy….

batsheva: we need a MOD in the morning.. freakazoids abound

ED335: Stand LA Stand LA stand LA

jk_la: i think it would be strategic to negotiate use of the vacant lot across the street


They also exchanged opinions about the tactics City Hall might use to move the occupations:


Republic1776: the city and LAPD want us to go down by ourselves. they dont want to have to evict us



Who are these guys, anyhow? Well, a New York Times/CBS poll finds that 43 percent of Americans agree with the Occupy Wall Street movement; there is too much money concentrated in the hands of too few people and they are dissatisfied with politicians and feel betrayed by government.


Charles, an OccupyLA protestor said, “You can’t understand what’s happening politically in our country unless you are aware that over the past 30 years the corporate elite, representing the top 20 percent of income earners in our country, have been able to cement their influence over our political process to such an extent that they have been able to capture virtually all of the increase in wealth that has occurred over that period of time. The attacks on public services and government in general, presently underway, must be viewed in this context.”

 Citizen Journalist at OLA


Negative Neal, a citizen journalist, tried to figure out who these guys really are.



And to top off all the drama, there is an election coming up in Los Angeles. Villaraigosa is termed out, but Rosendahl? He’s up for re-election. The gauntlet is down:

@zumadoggZuma Dogg



Young Occupiers at Occupy LA

Posted in Art + Culture, Business, Movers and Shakers, Personal Essays, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment