posted by Mike on April 3rd, 2008

LA Catholic Workers disrupt mayor’s visit to Skid Row
The LA Times has a video of the conference plus a story; the LA Catholic Worker has a story too.

Maybe Adam knows more about the background of this. The Times says the mayor was “Not easily intimidated,” but the protesters sure seem to be bothering him. How can the mayor of Los Angeles be such a lousy performer?

Pacifism and WWII
Nicholson Baker’s latest book is about WWII. NY Times:

It seems that he wishes to stir up an argument as much as settle one. In his afterword he says of the pacifists: “They failed, but they were right.” It is an aspect of the subtlety of his book that the reader is entitled to wonder if it’s true.

I have loved at least half the stuff he’s written, and am looking forward to reading this one. (I still have to read his article about Wikipedia first. “It’s like some vast aerial city with people walking briskly to and fro on catwalks, carrying picnic baskets full of nutritious snacks.”)

1958 Village Voice piece on the Catholic Worker
Caroling with Dorothy Day:

I was singing with Catholic Workers, tourist, sailors, Villagers, actors, and a drunken woman who also felt the magnetism. We sang ourselves to tears to a bunch of tough girls we would never see.

April Fools
South Bronx schoolkids pay tribute to Improv Everywhere:

Published in: Items | on April 3rd, 2008 | Permanent Link to “Items” | 1 Comment »

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  1. On April 8, 2008 at 15:05 Adam Villani said:

    The case in L.A’s Skid Row is kind of complex. I know both some pros and cons to it, but haven’t researched it enough to really make an informed decision on what I think of it. What’s up is that the LAPD formed a special Skid Row Task Force a few years ago to “clean it up,” as it were. Not only was/is Skid Row a huge concentration of homeless, but it was/is also fairly dangerous and had a lot of lawlessness. Lots of open drug sales and use, prostitution right on the streets or in public toilets, assaults, thefts, etc. As long as the Task Force is to clean up the lawlessness and dangerousness, I think that’s all well and good, and I’ve heard that in that respect the quality of life for the inhabitants has gotten better. But part of it also involves disallowing sleeping on the sidewalk and encampments and such, policies that basically involve pushing the homeless farther away without doing anything to help them.

    A lot of the motivation there is that areas immediately adjacent to Skid Row have been gentrifying rapidly, with a bunch of older bank buildings and such rapidly being converted to lofts and attracting young professionals and the like. “Cleaning up” Skid Row helps the gentrification, and the gentrification has been transforming downtown remarkably over the past few years, making it noticeably more lively outside of working hours. Up until a few years ago downtown L.A. (both Skid Row and non-Skid Row) was like a wasteland in the evenings and weekends, but there is now a lot more activity during off-hours.

    I really don’t know where the balance is in the SRTF’s actions between making life better on Skid Row vs. just pushing the homeless around and harassing them. I don’t know if the efforts to clean up the drugs have just driven them underground or have made things safer or done anything to free people from addiction. I don’t know if anything has been done to promote mental health services, either.

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