City Maven Alice Walton provides more than you would ever want to know about the Herb Wesson roast last night at the Beverly Hilton — unless, she says, you ” love jokes about short men, strippers, the Korean community and redistricting.”
It was sort of a “get shorty” affair with all the city’s big shots cracking jokes at the Council’s “Mr. Big” and all the special interests seeking special favors like Westfield, AEG, garbage haulers and Clear Channel Airports (part of the global digital billboard advertising empire) chipping in half a million bucks for the Diabetes Association.
Don’t you just wish with all your might that you were a somebody in this godforsaken town.
Notably absent from the shindig was Wal-Mart which may explain better than anythiing why Wesson’s second in command, little Ed Reyes, and wannabe mayor Eric Garcetti, want to keep the company from opening a badly needed smallish grocery store in Chinatown.
In a case of whatever labor boss Maria Elena Durazo wants your city officials will give, Reyes and Garcetti have proposed a special ordinance stripping Wal-Mart of its right “to build on property that has been vacant for decades, and in accordance with the site’s intended use,” as the LA Times puts it politely in an editorial calling their action “unfair.”
Joe Hicks and David Lehrer take a tougher stance in the Jewish Journal, expressing their disgust with how the Council shows “obvious contempt” for our intelligence and treats us like “fools.”
“We aren’t Muppets and we aren’t idiots and our electeds ought not treat us as such. If they have a problem with Wal-Mart because their union supporters do—admit it. If those concerns trump new jobs and enlivening a neighborhood that needs retail be honest about it. Don’t hide behind a façade of concern that is transparently dishonest.”
Perhaps, the retailing giant should just give in to City Hall’s extortion, pay off the Councilmen and agree to a project labor agreement like everybody else has to in order to do business in LA. Maybe that has something to do with the city’s massive job losses.
Speaking of LA’s rotten economy, sober minds and deep thinkers were on full display Thursday at Global Cities Initiative at the University of Southern California where the focus was on how LA is “a city primed to take advantage of the global economy,” reports Joel Fox at his FoxandHoundsdaily.com website.
“While Los Angeles and California are a dynamic economic areas, no longer an outpost in the Wild West but a gateway to the world, as USC president Max Nikias said, it’s clear the state and Southern California region still have to overcome governance roadblocks and anti-business practices to flex their economic muscle.”
The common thread of the program — speakers included Bob Hertzberg, BNSF Railway CEO Matthew Rose and the Brookings Institution’s Bruce Katz — was think locally, act regionally in the global marketplace.
Katz is interviewed at length in David Abel’s “Planning Report” where he argues convincingly that a “new normal” is evolving in which competition between big cities and their suburbs is as counter-productive as managing the U.S. economy in a changing world from Washington.
What he advocates is the metropolitan regions around big cities working together to develop their assets for everyone’s benefit instead of trying to take jobs from each other as has been so common for so long using redevelopment funds.
“Clearly the rules have changed,” he told Abel. “I would say over the next decade and onwards, being globally fluent and understanding your special position in the world and acting on that position through these sharp networks of trading cities will almost be a prerequisite for city and metropolitan success.
And finally, here’s a clip from NBC’s “The Filter with Fred Roggin” which is being broadcast tonight as usual at 6:30 p.m.Fridays at 6:30 pm on Charter 304, Cox 804, Time Warner 225, Verizon FIOS 460.
The topics that social ethicist Charlotte Laws and I discussed were money, guns and pets.