I struggle even for a day
or two to keep my New Year’s resolution to stay upbeat and positive when all I
see around me is the darkness of a gathering storm.
We are on a collision
course with ourselves, engaged in a civil war that nobody can win. We can only
hurt ourselves and each other as long as we remain in conflict over what we
disagree on instead of finding that we agree on most of the important things in
We want to be free and
happy, safe and secure, to know where our next meal’s coming from and hopeful
for the future.
All the issues that are
being used to overshadow the values we share, to segment us into angry cells
fighting over so many things that really don’t change anything at all.
I set out over the
holidays to write about how Antonio Villaraigosa was LA’s Republican of the
Year, a symbol of how LA liberalism is no different than what it condemns in
conservatives except for the language of its rhetorical flourishes.
If you look at the action
line of our mayor, you would see how he has slashed taxes to the entertainment
industry, eliminated business taxes to mutual funds virtually on the day he and
the City Council were excoriating the wretched excesses of Wall Street,
proposed abolishing the business tax entirely with its more than $400 million
in annual revenue , heavily subsidized luxury hotels, plush office buildings,
expensive restaurants buyouts, car dealerships and many other prosperous
businesses with taxpayer money – and that’s just a short list of what he did in
For 2012, he wants to
impose increases water, power and sewer services and to open the floodgates to
giant skyscrapers with massive displays of digital signage in Hollywood,
Woodland Hills and any other neighborhood where rich developers and
multi-national corporations can turn huge profits enhanced by public subsidies
and elimination of red tape – especially the ability of the residents of the
city to even have their protests heard.
The man is no liberal, no
Democrat. He crushed to Occupy LA protesters with what he dared to call
“constitutional policing,” a euphemism for legally sanctioned abuses, even
after giving them blanket permission to encamp indefinitely at City Hall at a
cost to taxpayers of millions of dollars.
But what’s the point of
talking about how the mayor committed the ultimate act of betrayal, betraying
himself and his own ideals, when everybody who has paid the least attention
knows that already.
No matter what the facts,
those who have chosen to ignore the truth and settled for crumbs from the table
of power will still be seduced by the access to power and the expectation of
more favors to come.
For all the complaints
about corporate “personhood” and the power of corporate money to control
government at all levels, LA city officials are almost universally put into
office by the money of labor unions which has led to a long string of
sweetheart contracts in the public sector and guarantees of Project Labor
Agreements in the private sector.
For all the complaints
about how government gets in their way and makes it hard for them to succeed,
the business community is delighted about the elimination of red tapes, cuts in
taxes, massive public works projects expanding LAX, deepening the harbor,
building rail lines, a football stadium end other entertainment projects for
I told you, it is a
struggle to be upbeat.
But I keep meeting
passionate and involved people working hard for their beliefs who feel the
winds of change are blowing in their sails and good times are just around the
corner. I’m not feeling that right now, but their faith keeps me going and
hoping for a sign that we will all begin to get along and work together to make
things better for everyone.