Gentrification forcing some L.A. gangs to commute to their turf
Los Angeles’ Echo Park, once a familiar stomping ground for the area’s gangs, has recently been hit with a wave of gentrification, with boutiques, coffee shops and rent increases displacing gang members.
Pushed out by this activity, many have been commuting to their turf only on the weekends, rapidly diminishing gang activity in the area. And now an injunction has been placed on Echo Park gangs, prohibiting them from congregating in a “safety zone” that envelops the neighborhood - even if they already live within its boundaries.
Officials praise it as a tool to make the neighborhood safer, but some residents say it places an unfair focus on minorities.
"The cops creep by and give me a look," said Salvador Aguirre, an Echo Park native who protested the injunction this summer.
"Being bald and Mexican American, we’re all looked at the same. We’re all the problems. I don’t want to be looked at twice."
Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times
"Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” was released 50 years ago this week. The film is regarded as a cinematic masterpiece today (AFI ranked it No. 39 in its’ 10th anniversary Top 100 in 2007), but in February 1964, Times’ film editor Philip K. Scheuer didn’t find much to like. I’m partial to the deadpan of the subheadline: "Kubrick’s ‘Satire’ Tells All About End of World, Ha Ha." But this is a great line too:
… a publicist at Columbia, which is distributing the picture, assured me it would be my “cup of tea.” After suffering through two screenings of “Dr. Strangelove,” I would sooner drink hemlock.
Scheuer issues no spoiler alerts while giving away the ending and laments that “[a]ll members of our armed forces are pictured as either utterly unscrupulous or just plain stupid.”
And then he makes a point that is rather jarring to a reader in today’s era of the antihero.
Is all this necessary? I submit that, as with “[It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad,] Mad World,” villains are not funny per se — especially when there are no good guys around to offset them.
Scheuer doesn’t spare the actors either.
Peter Sellers plays three parts, all in widely disparate make-up: the President, an RAF exchange officer and Dr. Strangelove, a Nazi fanatic employed as our top nuclear scientist. His bumbling Briton comes through; the others are, with all due respect to his talent for mimicry, simply preposterous. George C. Scott (I have never seen him give a bad performance till now) makes the staff chairman — Gen. Buck Turgidson — a mugging, stomach-scratching, gum-chewing vulgarian.
That’s Peter Sellers above, later in 1964. He’d had a heart attack and was photographed leaving the hospital with his wife.
Original published caption, May 8, 1964: GOING HOME — British comedian Peter Sellers, 38, stricken with a heart attack April 6 that almost cost him his life, gets a hug from his Swedish actress wife, Britt Eklund, 21, as he leaves Cedars of Lebanon Hospital on an ambulance litter Thursday. Credit: Los Angeles Times
test reblogged from latimespast
State of the Union 2014
President Obama will deliver his sixth State of the Union address tonight at 6:00 p.m. PST, in an attempt to once again rally the nation around his second term agenda, and break through Washington’s partisan gridlock.
But given the political climate, and the upcoming elections, Obama faces an uphill battle, no matter how lofty his rhetoric may be.
We’ll be posting intermittent updates here, but you can watch Obama’s speech, and keep tabs on the nation’s reactions, on Politics Now.
Or, for the historically minded, take a stroll through the most important moments of previous State of the Union addresses.
Calling for a “year of action,” President Obama asked for Democrats and Republicans to work together to aid an improving economy and continue gains made on energy reform.
But if not, Obama has pledged to employ executive actions to push as much of his agenda through as he can.
Obama hopes to capitalize on the division to push other populist elements of what he has labeled his economic inequality agenda. He plans to push Congress to expand unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and tout new commitments from chief executives of corporations who’d agreed not discriminate against applicants because of extended stretches out of work.
The president intends to speed up implementation of the ConnectEd program, his plan to connect all schools to the digital universe. Aides did not detail how the government would pay for this.
Obama also will create a new “starter savings account” to help people who don’t have 401(k) plans or pensions to save for retirement. An economic advisor said this would involve a new U.S. Treasury product eventually available for purchase on the private market.
Other initiatives would require approval from Congress, if they’re to take effect.
Photos: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Getty Images, Los Angeles Times, Charles Dharapak / Los Angeles Times
Folk musician, activist Pete Seeger has passed away at age 94
"At some point, Pete Seeger decided he’d be a walking, singing reminder of all of America’s history," Bruce Springsteen said at a Madison Square Garden concert marking Seeger’s 90th birthday in 2009. “He’d be a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament to the power of song and culture to nudge history along, to push American events towards more humane and justified ends.”
Above is Seeger performing the classic “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore.” For our full obituary, head here.
Progress made in talks to end Ukraine protests
President Viktor Yanukovich has offered amnesty for protesters arrested, pledged to reshuffle his government and alter strict laws against public demonstrations as part of a proposed deal with his political opposition continuing their protests in the capital of Kiev.
But so far, no definite deal has been reached in the ongoing negotiations between the government and protest leaders.
Photos: Sergei Supinsky, Volodymyr Shuvayev / AFP/Getty Images, Sergei Grits / Associated Press
Rapid escalation of clashes in Kiev
Three demonstrators have been killed in the Ukrainian capitol of Kiev, as protesters and police hunker down amid the debate over whether the country should build closer ties to the European Union.
The country’s government, led by prime minister Mykola Azarov, has sought to legitimize protesters by force and by law, enacting harsh restrictions on the right for demonstrations.
Photos: Sergei Grits, Darko Vojinovic / Associated Press, Sergei Supinsky / AFP/Getty Images
"The most important civil rights leader you’ve never heard of"
"…Rustin also was gay, decades before the Supreme Court legitimated private sexual activity, and that cost him the backing of even some radicals, black as well as white, for whom he had been an eloquent and courageous leader for nearly 40 years.”
Art: Dugald Stermer / For the Times
Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.
Today, a nation remembers and honors the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., whose struggle for civil rights continues to inspire on his 85th birthday anniversary.
King’s landmark moment was perhaps the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which was celebrated just last year during its 50th anniversary.
"He just leaned into the moment," Watkins said. "Looked out at the crowd the way Baptist preachers do and gave them what they needed: that idea of the dream. You might have to wait, but if you fight for dignity, everything is going to be OK."
King prodded him to imagine an America racially unified instead of divided. Still, it was the entire afternoon, taken together, that left the most lasting impression: the camaraderie, the thoughtfulness, the feeling that if a gathering like this could take place, it was time for Watkins to expand his horizons.
Photos: Gene Herrick, Charles Gorry / Associated Press, Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images
Profiting from Detroit’s despair
Detroit’s economic decline has led to a strange sort of tourism. Photographers focused on the city’s worn-down buildings and broken infrastructure have prompted guides to give tours of the urban decay.
He’d heard stories of ruin and blight, but that didn’t prepare Oliver Kearney for what he saw:
Prostitutes roaming the streets at 8 a.m., rubble-strewn parking lots overrun with weeds, buildings taken over by bright pink graffiti, the message scrawled on blackboards in deserted schools: “I will not write in vacant buildings.”
He took 2,000 photographs his first day.
But these tours frequently break trespassing laws, and residents are condemning the photographic forays:
"The decay is not cool, not arty-farty," Jean Vortkamp, a community activist and onetime mayoral candidate, said in an email.
"I see the lady with bags and three layers of clothes on, and then I see a group of white young people climb out of their dad’s cars with cameras that are worth so much."
Photos: Alana Semuels / Los Angeles Times
Boston University professor and editorial contributor Andrew J. Bacevich has a harsh evaluation of the U.S. military’s actions in recent years:
“The U.S. military is like the highly skilled, gadget-toting contractor who promises to give your kitchen a nifty makeover in no time whatsoever…
Yet by the time he drives off months later, the kitchen’s a shambles and you’re stuck with a bill several times larger than the initial estimate.”
Image: Edel Rodriguez / For The Times
Is Los Angeles a city in decline?
According to a report released today by the Los Angeles 2020 Commission, our city is strangled by traffic, riddled with poverty and led by a directionless government, with grim prospects for the future.
As the report declares:
“The city where the future once came to happen has been living in the past and leaving tomorrow to sort itself out.”
In a strange bit of timing, GQ recently declared that downtown L.A. is “America’s next city,” so at least not everyone’s so down on our town.
What do you think the future holds for L.A.?
Photos: Al Seib, Arkasha Stevenson, Jay L. Clendenin, Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times