Lauren, watercolor and graphite on paper, 1 June 2017
Wednesday, 31 May – I don't have any wisdom to offer regarding life that hasn't been offered before by sages and doyennes. But I do need to distance myself from the kind of political hate I've seen escalating of late. I can understand anger, but not open hate. Have people forgotten their inner, their spiritual natures? As for me, I am a cultural Catholic who wanders around in Zen; I can't abide political discourse that goes against these natures, and the insistent parading of hate above compassion.
Thursday, 1 June – Nor do I have any new wisdom to offer the City or the County of Los Angeles regarding housing the homeless. Our latest homeless census now sees homelessness rise again, as it has for every year in the past decade except one.
I don't have any wisdom that I haven't told every editor and homeless beat writer in town for the past five years now: that permanent supportive housing doesn't work; in fact, it's a scam on the public, producing a logjam in meeting needs because it fetches the lowest possible results of all for the highest possible costs. In fact, the government-rigged studies that demonstrate that it "works" show permanent supportive housing to be cost-effective because they leave out the cost of building the new development itself, which is the top cost of all. Meanwhile, the writers and editors continue to believe whatever the mayor and permanent supportive housing point person Zev Yaroslavsky spoonfeed them about permanent supportive housing, as they have all through the decade.
Now, why is that? Why are our editors so dependent on the very figures whose work and deeds they are supposed to question the most rigorously?
In the past five years, most of the city's top permanent supportive housing administrators have now drawn over a million in salary. For doing what nuns used to do for free, until government monetized the crisis. They've built their high-cost, low-yield developments at a cost exceeding what it costs to build luxury condos. I guess nobody in our local media will be happy until there's an encampment in every backyard.
Saturday, 3 June – Somewhat touching, to see people at the Norton Simon last night, the free night, coming to pray to statues and whatever lay beyond them. Yet something was more complicated than that too. I wasn't sure if this was religious practice or an elaborate photo op. I still took a photo, mostly because I thought the ray of light at sunset made for a cosmic kind of communion rail before the Hindu statuary. All I know is that LA whelps this kind of scene routinely, as refutation to all the east coast blare of noise we're expected to chase but so many here so sensibly don't.
Tuesday, 6 June – Was amused to see the LA Times promoting a story about the president blocking people on Twitter. Four City of LA officials, incluing three elected officials, have me blocked on Twitter. I can only guess why...after all, I've written for the LA Times, the LA Daily News, the LA Weekly, the Downtown News, the LA Alternative Press, CityWatchLA, Reason, Forbes, a lot of others, and even Zocalo (and if you want the full list, go here), but...
This has been going on for four years now. I've never asked anyone in LA media to go to bat for me on this. I'm a big boy and I'll take care of myself. But the way the LA Times only promotes this kind of whining by people of a particular partisan orientation does grow a bit thin.
However, regarding this issue, let me give an example how blocks by public officials are against the public interest. Sometimes the Mayor of LA issues information on his "personal" account that is vital to public safety on Twitter: for instance, two weeks ago, he was talking about the need to avoid Mandeville Canyon because of a fire. If you live in that neighborhood and he has you blocked on Twitter, you don't get the same information others are getting. Public officials belong to all of us; so do all of their accounts.
I'm sure they block others too; so do a few people in local media. But while that remains prima facie their loss, perhaps on occasion it is also the city's at large. (What they miss from me: I've lived here all my life, excepting a few college years; my own talents are for writing and policy analysis). Shutting anyone out of the civic dialog is a judgment call by any empowered official, but when they do it, they also certainly make the city something less from time to time, mostly for the sake of preserving their own egotism. From people we expect to represent all of us, excluding qualified people from the civic dialog is a selfish act.
Thursday, 15 June – LA business blokes might find my 2010 piece on Jerry Sullivan, now newly named editor of the LA Business Journal, of some interest. After this piece, and before the new gig, Sullivan went to the Orange County Business Journal. I caught him when he was leaving the old Garment & Citizen, which he founded, and which I much admired. I don't do this kind of writing much anymore, but I'm glad I did it when I did it! It left an archive of future nabobs to cull, and we're in that future now. Of historic interest to me is the telling waft of Med 420 we both caught floating on Traction – in 2010, before the industry was as, er, blown out as it is to-day. PS, this piece is also in my book "Days Change at Night – Notes on LA's Decade of Decline, 2003-2013."
Sunday, 18 June – Father's Day Card for a Soccer Dad, watercolor, ink, graphite, 17 June 2017.