I know now I will not be alone in a Bastille Day protest at City Hall.
So many others have stepped forward and said they too are fed up with the arrogance and failure of our city government that I know there will be a decent crowd at high noon on the 14th of July.
The question is whether there will be enough decent people to become an army that storms the bastille and shakes the foundation of L.A.’s corrupt political culture.
Saving L.A. — that’s the mission. Celebrating L.A. the place and demanding that it becomes a city, a real city where we all come together around a vision of something greater than ourselves, a great city.
We are at the tipping point. Too much greed. Too much poverty. Too many problems left unsolved. Bad schools, over-development, traffic congestion, neighborhoods held hostage by gangs, official indifference to the values of the people, fragmented and weak communities — L.A. teeters on the brink.
It doesn’t have to be that way. We can have great schools and great neighborhoods, great streets and great parks, great busineses and great jobs. We can be greener and safer.We can be happier.
But we will never achieve that when all the leadership gives us is choices between paying twice for garbage collection or fewer cops, between power outages and water shortages and higher rates, between something bad and something worse.
City Hall has more than enough money to solve the city’s problems. But too much is given away in sweetheart contracts and giveaways to developers and contractors for no purpose other than to maintain the system of failure. Too much is spent in ways that don’t matter and too little on ways that would make our lives better and our communities more livable.
We need to spend our money smarter to create the kind of choices people want and the city needs. We need to raise the standards and create the kind of a city where we can choose to walk or ride a bike or take a bus or drive when we leave our homes to go to work or play. We need to able to choose between a good public school or a good charter school. We need good choices, not choices between the lesser of two evils.
The leadership of this city is incapable of real change. It will take the people. It will take you to step forward and get the revolution started by joining the Saving L.A. Protest and make it a S.L.A.P. in the face of our elected officials, a wakeup call that the rules are changing, that the people are taking over.
I’m just a voice in the crowd. But people are stepping forward who have spent years working in the trenches to make their neighborhoods better, who know how to organize and make this happen. It will take more people to pull this off, to volunteer and turn this into something big and the start of something bigger.
So let me know if you’re coming, if you want to help figure out how we make this protest a celebration of the spirit of L.A.’s people and their hopes for the future. We don’t need to get mad to get even. We can come together and party and if there’s enough of us there, they’ll get the message.
This city belongs to you and me. So let’s take our gripes and grievances down to City Hall and leave them there as a petition for redress. Every neighborhood, every group has their own set of issues, their own values. We don’t need to agree on anything except our right to a government that serves us, not special interests, and our respect for each other’s right to be empowered to affect public policy.
This S.L.A.P. in City Hall’s face can be the beginning, the dawning of a new L.A. Come join the party!