EASTMAN, UNLIKE EASTWOOD, IS NO EMPTY CHAIR
Hollywood, CA – On an almost balmy fall evening in Los Angeles after covering the historic endorsement for YES on 37 (Label GMOs) by Mayor AnVil and his courageous city council earlier that day in downtown LA, my [Occupy LA] friend Jeff and I headed back for a repeat ride on the Rock City Railroad, one of the many wonders located in the array of antiques housed in several connected store dwellings on Hollywood Blvd.
This night, however, we weren’t there to scope out antiques; this night as a rep for Prop 37 and a MMJ activist/patient I was there in Hollywood to transgender causes by speaking of how Prop 37 passage is important to medical marijuana patients. Though it sounds simple, crossing another’s wake in rhetoric waters is as difficult as in real waters. Not everyone who boats, plays well with others.
This being a LLWAP adventure, I should add the full flavor. The Rock City Railroad is the multi-gauge model railroad layout belonging to a man named Ruben, who besides the antiques and trains, is also the publisher of JEMM magazine. As such, the LA chapter of NORML [National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws] was meeting at Ruben’s shops; in the room closest to Hollywood Blvd. Refreshments were available before and after the meeting in another room area atop Elvis Presley’s large oval Gold Las Vegas dining table.
The meeting started with some distinguished figures of the MMJ scene in attendance. One such person was the founder of NORML, attorney Bruce M. Margolin, who looked exactly like his picture. To be honest, folks, when you meet someone that you’ve only read about a hundred times, plus peeped why they feel the way they do to have the courage to publicly stand by their convictions, well, you turn into a bit of a ‘fanboy’ on the inside, because we all know, “in Hollywood, you never let them see you sweat.”
Also in Hollywood, it is the power of the ‘smooze’, a term coined to illustrate the ability to cross-talk and network in a gentile, civil fashion. As it turned out, I needed all the ‘smooze’ I could muster since the chapter leader resembled a live action Fowler [Chicken Run] and ran a loose scripted meeting with a tight set of Robert’s Rules.
Last on the agenda and with the introduction of “And now, I don’t know who he is but…”, I started my spiel about YES on 37, successfully defending my right to impose my cause on their agenda. Having politely deferred a 420 invite prior to the meeting to stay focused, I rolled out my message, barely recalling the words as they left my mouth.
Condensed into concise vocal bullet power points were all the food panel, pamphlet, John Diaz, and ‘No vote’ rebuttals, to make my arguments for a ‘YES’ vote on Prop 37. At the end of a short seven minute speech, the position and message of Prop 37 drew applause. I was surprised by the enthusiastic reaction and gladdened by it as well.
Earlier that evening something else had surprised me. Another dignitary of sorts at the meeting was someone that I have come to know from his many pictures in JEMM, his time at Occupy LA, and his presence in the medical marijuana cause. His name is Richard Eastman, a Hollywood political activist since ’76, a friend of [the late] Harvey Milk’s, and JEMM’s photo editor. Eastman is running for LA city council, DISTRICT 13 – HOLLYWOOD, in the March 5, 2013 election.
Already there are 20 other registered candidates in the Hollywood district race who have raised collectively $700,000. Eastman is trying to raise his first $300 just to get the ball rolling. This may sound like a very daunting task but for a man who is HIV positive [in the Magic Johnson way], openly gay in a butch YMCA style with a booming voice, and has smoked pot ‘since Hack was a pup’, I think Eastman, though no Eastwood, is used to pushing elephants up the stairs. Perhaps because of his involvement with Occupy LA, he may also be feeling lucky, punk! For more info or how to help, 323-474-4602
Stay tuned, this is a developing story.
Next in our GMO series, Prop 37, What The Fates Say/A Visit To Mo’s Diner.