Sunday, January 25, 2009

To Live And Die In (The City of) L.A.

To Live And Die In (The City of) L.A.

L.A is a strange place. It has a lot of wide variety of places. Some high brow, some not so much and a bit south. Me, I'm in East L.A. I wasn't actually born there. I was spewed into this world on Sunset across the Scientology building. I suppose that explains why I'm such a strange person.

I did grow up in East L.A. though and somehow managed to come out of it alive and relatively upstanding. So it can't be all that bad. Well, I guess it can. But it's what you make of it. I don't think something is entirely the product of their environment. Besides, what if instead of an incorporated part of Los Angeles, East L.A. was actually an actual city?

The L.A. Times usually doesn't report much good, but they are Reporting that East L.A. wants to become a city.
East Los Angeles is proudly known as the community that sparked a Mexican American civil rights movement, gave birth to Los Lobos and jump-started low-rider car culture.

But for all its notoriety and close-knit feel, East L.A. has never been a city. Rather, it's an unincorporated area governed by the county Board of Supervisors.

But on Friday, the community took a major step toward gaining independence. County officials announced that backers had gathered enough signatures for the cityhood process to formally begin.

Boosters hope residents will cast ballots on the question in 2010. First, a major study has to confirm what a much smaller, earlier study asserted: that the neighborhood of 140,000 can sustain itself economically as what would be L.A. County's 10th-largest city.

On Friday, supporters who were gathered along Whittier Boulevard said they were confident of victory, even as they prepared to go door to door to raise $100,000 to pay for the study.

"We the people of East L.A. have not only stood up, but we have delivered," said state Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), referring to the movie "Stand and Deliver," which was set at East L.A.'s Garfield High School. "What a vibrant community, what a vibrant city East L.A. can be."

Calling the neighborhood an internationally known "icon" of Latino culture, Romero said that with the Gold Line rail extension coming soon, the time is now for East L.A. to become a city and control its own destiny.
Now you're probably confused by all this. Don't worry, L.A. is full of strange Cities and Non-cities. Growing up here you'd still be hard pressed to know what exactly is a city and what isn't.
Santa Monica - City
Studio City - Not a city
Burbank - City
Panorama city - NOT a city
City of Industry - City
East Pasadena - Not a city
Pasadena - City
Culver City - City
Silver Lake - City

So you see, it's very strange what exactly is considered a City and what isn't.

The History of Los Angeles is pretty interesting. This was once a Jewish community. In fact, you can still find the remains of the Jewish culture all around between taco trucks and other ethnic areas. Unlike Israel, it seems that the Jews don't want East L.A. back.

How do I feel about this? Well, I would be up for it only if East Los can actually support itself. We don't have any sort of major shopping area that isn't some Mexican mercado. I'm not sure how well tourism will be other than to visit the Cheech and Chong historic museum or come for a day of the dead celebration. As long as the Police force stays as good as they are, I'll be happy. Why am I all of a sudden interested in the health of the police state? Well, that's a long story that caused my Saturday night to feel like I was a character out of Gran Torino.

Don't get me a big button phone. ggggrrrrrr

You see, my Saturday night was going pretty well. Getting some downtime and just relaxing, it was a nice change from the long work hours. Some time to write and hell, I wrote a lot of pieces which will be up during the coming weeks. The last thing I expected I would be doing was getting into an altercation with some taggers.

My place.... has been a constant state of fixing, It's a fixer-upper and has been that way for some time, but that's a blog for another time. There's already a lot of ground to cover in this story alone so I'll save the construction and constant improvement on it for another blog when I can bore you to tears.

Around 1:40 I heard a thump on my window. I wasn't sure what the hell was going on. I walk out to the living room and I see a backwards S go up through the window. I turn on the lights and bang on the door to scare them away. I have enough common sense to not jump out there and get into it, right? After that they seem to go away and I go out there with my windex, past experience has taught me that if you get it on the graffiti quick enough, it comes off with ease. The cops were called by this point so they can come and do their rounds around the neighborhood.

I open the door and sure enough, taggers are just slightly down the street tagging the curb. Fuckin' kids these days. I felt like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino.
I'm no hero. I was just trying to get that babbling spics off my lawn!
They see me and yell "Get back inside, you pussy!" Which I suppose in hindsight wasn't the best time to yell about them tagging on my window. But even more so that once they responded with "I got a gun, nigga! You want to die?" I'm not sure in calling his bluff because really, if you have a gun, you let the gun do the talking and actually pull it out without ever having to mention having one. So my "You're going to shoot someone over graffiti? Fucking morons." wasn't the best course of action but I was pissed off.

Worthless fucks!

Well, the two morons were odd and even. The more sensible one was trying to get the douche bag to get going. Like any tagger would when they see someone looking. You run. How hard is that? Well, douche bag starts running towards me, I back up and get into the apartment again and close the door. Douche bag starts banging on the door calling me a pussy. I hear the sensible one talk the douche bag to walk away and I hear them walk some. I open the door to check to see how far they are and sure enough, they aren't that far away. Douche bag comes running at me but this time I can't close the door in time. He's literally pushing his way inside, drops his spray can, I kick it inside.. why? I have no idea and I grab the Darth maul lightsaber that has been sitting next to the door waiting to be tossed out for a while now and start beating him with this this toy.
"Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn't have mess with? That's me."
Yes. You heard that right. I was beating him up with a lightsaber. He lets go of the door and I slam it close and lock it. I think this is the end of it and it seems like the sensible one is actually getting him to walk away. No dice. I hear constant "Where's my spray can!", "Where the fuck is my spray can?" answered by "I'll buy you a new one, dawg." Douche bag comes back and bashes on the door more. This time kicking in the glass panel on the door. Thankfully the doors backing was boarded up from a while back as I need a new door. He kicks the door constantly to the point that the bottom locking was jolted.

Seriously scary shit.

Slams on the door more and then bashes on the window kicking through it. By this point they've done too much damage and start walking away. I still maintain hope that the cops show up in time to see all this and I jump out when their a "safe" distance away. Keeping them in yelling distance. Douche bag acts like he's coming back for more and I pick up a shard of the broken glass and he stops in his tracks and they start walking away leaving me with such lovely parting words.
The thing that haunts a guy is the stuff he wasn't ordered to do
All through this I felt like Walt Kowalski. And if you don't know who he is, you must be an Oscar voter since you fucks snubbed Gran Torino badly. Cops eventually show up a couple of minutes later, take down my report and then they ask me if I can identify them. Sure enough, they had two squad cars converge on the area and find them. I jump into the back of the car and they take me to an impromptu line up and I remember them since they were double bladed lightsaber distance away from me.

Shattered nights.

I'm given the DA slip for whatever case they are going to pursue on them. A couple of felony charges and hopefully they're going to be spending a good time in the can. I spent the morning putting up boards to cover up the damage and start the whole process of fixing the place up. In hindsight, this whole situation could have gone far worse. Seriously though.. What the fuck was I thinking being out there?
Time and time again, we hear about well-intentioned people being murdered when they speak up against someone doing graffiti. Case in point, it happened again this week in Hollywood.

"Based on preliminary information, detectives believe that Perez saw gang members vandalizing property with graffiti," the LAPD said in a statement. "Perez decided to confront the gang members about the graffiti. In an apparent response to the comments about the graffiti, one gang member pulled out a gun and fired into the car killing Perez and injuring his passenger."

We hear this from police at community meetings all the time. If you see someone tagging, don't hesitate, it's a 911 call.

Perhaps opening the door to peak out only to follow it up with smacking him with a toy lightsaber... maybe not my finest moment. But who among us can say they ever did that with a lightsaber toy?
Not as clumsy or random as a blaster; an elegant weapon for a more civilized age
Later the officer told me that if they rolled up when that was going down they would have beaten the shit out of the guy. The humanitarian in me wants to think that it would have been wrong of them. The victim in me would have been all for it.

Eat your heart out, Starwars kid!

I just remembered that there is bug spray near the door that I got at CVS for free after some sale. I really wish I thought of that shit before. Seriously. Nothing like a blind tagger walking the streets at night.

It's rather interesting though. The amount of choices I made in a quick matter of time at night. I really needed a stiff drink when it was all said and done and I really needed to calm my nerves. Hell, since I already marked out as a geek, I might as well go the full tilt. After last night I think I earned a couple of Green Lantern rings.

Red - Rage
Green - Willpower
Yellow - Fear

"I'm used to going out at 3AM and doing something stupid."



InsipidVitriol said...

I can't believe you beat him with a lightsaber.

You score major dumb nerly hero points for that.

Serio. =)

OSTerizer said...

You are insane. That is insane. That is all.

garden said... is a great place to shop. Product quality and service is really great.