Wednesday, September 14, 2005

not everyone loves the cornfields

I wonder if this point of view will be presented? or if the lecture will just be a giant clusterfuck of self-congratulations for a job (almost) done. and like so many public infrastructure/park projects in LA, this one too seems to be rife with backdoor deals, bullying, and contentious debate on the use of land. only the "bad guy" this time isn't a major multinational corporation or a greedy businessman looking to displace the poor for a ballpark. this time its a non-profit who has done (and continues to do) a great deal of public good.

some interesting facts on the history of the cornfields in the gonzalez's article:

Little known to most Angelenos , the Cornfield park site was once the railroad terminal where several hundred thousand Mexicans (including U.S. citizens) were illegally deported during the infamous anti-immigrant hysteria of the 1930's. The Cornfield -which was never in fact a cornfield-- train terminal used for livestock and grain deliveries was thought more appropriate for Latinos than the more fashionable Union Station, which was used to transport "more respectable" Americans.

it also
was also adjacent to the original Indian settlements of the Tongva people and served as home to the first Chinese community in this city.

thanks to jess for the article.


At 12:41 PM, Blogger Tim said...

Hate to be a spoil sport . . .

you've bought into a couple of old Los Angeles myths that have been exposed too many times to recount. Chavez Ravine had been destroyed years before O'Malley or locals thought it would be a good spot for a stadium. The trolley system was worn out and nearly abandonded by its keepers, universally hated, when it was finally closed. Not that these aren't stories of corruption and human folly, just quite a bit more nuanced than you are letting on. The story of Chavez Ravine, in particular, is a maddening and convoluted tale involving well meaning civic do-gooders and ruthless capitalists inadvertently conspiring to destroy a real neighborhood in a fit of 'modernist' do-over hysteria. The end result being the destruction of the idea of publicly funded low-income housing.

Regarding the divisive politics of Antonio Gonzalez; his diatribe does not stand up to real scrutiny. just one example:

"Her defenders claim her ambition is to imitate Christo"

This is demagoguery and patently ridiculous. I have some concern about the way this project happened, but to equate it with fascism (how else can one read about freight cars moving people) is just plain dumb and functions only to stifle real conversation and the slowly emerging world-view that we are in this together.

If you had been living here during the last 'uprising' you would not be so quick to invoke divisive strategies. There are real enemies in Los Angeles but you can not spot them by their skin color or the cut of their clothes.


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