Tuesday, October 15, 2013



Temecula, CA – There is an old saying, “You can’t run from your problems.”

Since traveling up to LA, my stories about local city gov craptacularness have dropped off the
charts; save the recent barb to the hard-hearted approach Murrieta took to MMJ. Since the problem with government is government, you can’t run away from the problem, especially in the big city.

There is one difference with the big city though, they brag about it there and post the misdeeds in public as a reminder. They don’t do that in T-town.

We have all swooned to the dreamy Jim Webb song ‘MacArthur Park’ but the real story is no dream, and the dire warning issued could be repeated for Echo Park, except for a plucky set dresser named Jen.

As I strolled along Sunset Blvd with book editor friend Jeff, a semi-scruffy dark-haired woman caught our attention. I say ‘semi-scruffy’ because in this area of Sunset the general crowd is made up of old Asians, residential Latinos, street vendor Latinos, and whites who look like either studio production types or young hipsters, i.e. pale and thin, always dressed in black. This lady was like a soccer mom, but without the ‘mom’ and she had a petition to sign. As it turned out, my friend LA Jeff did sign. For me, it was a callback to a decorative plaque adorning a light pole outside a metro subway station I had seen just a day earlier.

In an area still known as the Westlake District lays the park whose name is now MacArthur, but not too long ago that had not been so. W.R. Hearst, one of the architects of the current marijuana prohibition culture, wanted his ‘pick’ for President, Gen. MacArthur, to get the nod so he had his ‘man’ in the LA city council put a bill through to change the historic correct park name ‘to honor the legendary general’ before the neighborhood got wind of the discussion.

The preceding is a condensed version of events as listed on the aforementioned light pole plaque.

Today the eastern edge of Echo Park stands threatened by hipster gentrification from the Orsini Project unless set dresser Jen, out of breath when I saw her, can garner enough outrage and support to stop it. You can go here to read the details but the kicker is this:

While the downtown Orsini Project fits in though covering three different corners in massive cluster fashion, boosting all sorts of in-house amenities, occupancy is less than 25% and it’s not because the place is that picky. With the country still in a slump, there just aren’t enough fat cats or big spenders to fill all the vacancies now available. For the high-rent-high-rise crowd, the housing market is tapped out for that area of the city. 

It’s not Beverly Hills either, just beautiful old homes sprinkled with vacant terraced lots on various viewing levels. Putting this monster apartment wall in makes no sense, only dollars forecast.

So fellow readers, this week put Echo Park and Jen in your prayers for the right things to happen.

PS: readers who have followed my adventures here since Occupy Los Angeles will remember a Mexican restaurant whose food I raved about. Then later in my stories after OLA I remarked how that family run neighborhood spot had been replaced by a hipster decked-out spot spun off from an east side location. As you read the details on the website link, just know that my Mexican restaurant was replaced by Guisados Taco Shop. Yeah, it’s like that.

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