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Amnesia at Brand




The story of private citizen billionaire Rick Caruso's shameless robber baron attempts to use Glendale City Council to acquire a hotel that only serves Caruso's own business interests are increasingly horrifying. While eminent domain has been a sustained American bugabear since the Civil War, never before has it been so arrogantly flounted as in the Americana at Brand case.

It is difficult for an ordinary citizen, even one worth a few million dollars, to meet with a billionaire like Caruso, let alone to pressure him to stay within bounds of law. But Glendale's City Council has historically been so awestruck by the dollars involved in the creation of Americana at Brand that it simply has played the role of order-taker to-date. This would be all well-and-good in a cowtown that services itself; but Glendale "serves"--or you could say "steals" too--business from a 700,000 person Angeleno crescent surrounding it on the north, east, and south, including the LA communities of Sunland, Tujunga, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Glassell Park, Silver Lake and Los Feliz.

Whether or not the City of Los Angeles will recognize that its own business interests are misrepresented by the two-decade-old trend of businesses fleeing LA not for Texas but for its greedy, nefarious neighbor to the north will ultimately test the courage of LA's Mayor Villaraigosa and especially the absentee District Attorney Steve Cooley. Can these men form an agreement that finds a way to join the interested parties that support a Constitutional approach to land development in Los Angeles County, in which billionaires play on the same Constitutional field as the rest of us? Or will both be content to let the land-grabber grab away, and hope for the best, even as the region's true economic furnace, the City of Los Angeles, declines at the expense of the cheating northern neighbor?