The Plan is simple, feed them, fatten them up and then eat them!- Jaycee
To Serve Man! It's A Cookbook! -Twilight Zone
Soylent Green! It's People!- Soylent Green!
The Los Angeles City Council ever forward thinking discussed a proposal to enact a ban not on the proliferation of military style hand weapons and assault rifles or the effort to replace much needed bus routes and buses affecting the cities working class and poor populace or fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS, lack of jobs or youth programs and gangs but of the number of fast food joints in South Los Angeles. That used to be South Central and for you really hip folks Watts!
The proposal actually seeks to limit any new fast food type restaurants from opening in a specific geographic area in and around south central citing health concerns for the citizens. There are simply too many restaurants of the same type saturating this area. And they say were too fat! Of course everyone seems to agree that we city folks are fat, obese in fact! So it appears that the city council is proposing the ban in order to prevent an under served community from being abused further. So it appears.
There have been similar bans and proposals in other cities banning and limiting Liquor stores and Billboards that market smoking ads. So the proposals are not far fetched! But I wonder if these is just the precursor to a much different, much more sinister agenda for South Los Angeles. This proposal, on its face is presented like its for the protection of the community. The South Los Angeles community has a disproportionate amount of Liquor stores, Gun stores and advertising of Liquor and Cigarettes.
But the council has not wholeheartedly jumped into the fray over the fate of MLK Hospital. It has not sought funding to my knowledge to reopen the 96 preventive care clinics that served South Los Angeles and Los Angeles county. I have yet to see a gym or fitness center in South Los Angeles. So what gives? Could this be the opening volley to Gentrify South central?
The city council appears to battle not against gridlock or smog but against Clowns! Clowns hawking 2000 calorie, cheesy, pickled, mayo splashed, mustard soaked, catsup drenched grease fried pockets of death!
Ok, real talk! It was amazing to watch people on the news when asked about the proposed ban talk about how it's people's own choice to do what they want. No one should restrict them although yes, it would be nice to have better restaurants!
Now for a sensible blogger such as myself, I have self control! I can walk pass a burger stand, taco stand, chicken joint, donut shop and liquor store on every block within a four block radius and resist.....the urge to go in all of them at once. The fact that I have no cash and there's no bank or ATM nearby is not the reason I don't!
I have self control!
I do darn it!
I can quit eating fresh hot donuts anytime I want!
I just don't want to.
The amazing thing about it is that when someone wants to take away or do away with something for people's own good people freak out!
It's about Choice man!
Really? Was it your choice to have a ton of fast food joints in a whole section of town instead of quality grocery stores, banks and shopping centers? Was it your choice not to have any sit down quality restaurants where you could take a family or a date out for a night on the town?
Was it your choice to not have a movie theatre/cineplex, arcade, bowling alley or any good night club establishments?
So you chose to design your area with no farmer's market, no floral shop, no bank, no medical clinic, no gyms just a taco shop, next to a burger stand, across from a rib joint next to a discount smoke shop catercorner to a liquor store! You chose that? That was your design, huh?
No, you didn't design that! Previous city councils, searching for tax revenue allowed restaurants like all these fast food joints to build in one swatch of town even though it was overcrowded, discouraging to other types of businesses and an eyesore on the community. You telling me you chose to have an economic stink bomb that lowered your property values? You saying that you zoned a million small stone front churches alongside all these fast food joints? You chose to zone 3 payday loan, check cashing stores every two blocks next to the burger joints and storefront churches? You mean you chose a liquor store or two on every block in South Los Angeles, a gun shop, thrift shop, auto wrecking yard?
No, that wasn't your choice and it actually isn't your choice now either. The city council is still only concerned about tax revenues. They want the sales tax that they know they will be able to generate from rezoning the area and removing the clusters of low quality restaurants, which are mostly Mom and Pop and replacing them with more desirable edifices.
Question, what about a Mom and Pop restaurant perhaps a generational owned Rib shack that wants to become a sit down restaurant. Will they be afforded the same tax incentives and breaks as say a major chain? Or will they be put out of business?
Eventually the city will desire to add artist lofts, Condos, Houses, Theatres, retail shops and real restaurants and night clubs. Then the next phase will be moving the poor out!
They won't just leave premium real estate in the hands of the working class! No, Gentrification is the order on the menu! That is ultimately what they are talking about! They are gonna clean up the area that for 45 years they have let you rot in and collect top dollar for it.
If you really want to keep that from happening though, it is possible.
Here's how, first we start an email, snail mail letter writing campaign to Bernie Parks, Mark Ridley Thomas, Earvin Magic Johnson, Dennis Zine, Antonio Villarigoza, The Hahns since it is affectionately their father's and grandfather's district, Yvonne Braite Burke and some of the other council folks and politicos stating that hey we want a quality grocery store like a whole foods or trader joes or a 32nd street market. Then we write the farmers market association to get a farmers market(s) in specific areas of town.
We must get the media involved in our efforts. First we will must control the message. We will not be gentrified! If anyone is going to reap the benefits of urban renewal it will be those who are truly urban! Dig!
The council has the right idea giving tax incentives to sit down restaurants to attract interests but again, they got another thing coming if they think they will be allowed in without hiring folks that live in the neighborhood already.
Hey! I like good food and art and a safe viable business friendly neighborhood! I'm working towards that now but not for someone else to enjoy.
Noooooo! You wouldn't choose that! But hey! weren't we just talking about my double pastrami on rye right?
Yeah, we are and you can keep right on eating it too. They'll have to pry mine from my cold dead hands, oops hand, as I clutch my chest with the other one, but if we play our cards right instead of being a bunch of brain dead reactionaries then they can transport us in an ambulance to a quality medical facility nearby. Then, we can walk a decent urban neighborhood with a farmers market, a good grocery store, good shops, a theatre and the stuff a real neighborhood is made of. Then go and have half of a pastrami and a orange bang!
Be Mindful! Be Prayerful! Be Careful!