Thursday, April 20, 2006

The New Los Angeles

I don’t usually use this space to encourage you to watch more TV. I’m more of a get-out-and-do-things-with-your-community kind of councilmember.

But I will make an exception for The New Los Angeles, which I saw at a special premiere event last night and which will be shown on KCET Thursday night, April 27, at 10 pm.

The movie chronicles the development of Los Angeles politics from the Bradley-Yorty showdowns a generation ago to last year’s mayoral election. In between, it covers the struggles that have shaped our city: the emergence of multicultural leadership in the labor movement, the attacks on the janitors who marched in Century City, the civil unrest after the Rodney King verdict, the drive to keep problem liquor stores out of a rebuilt South Los Angeles while mending relationships between Korean immigrants and African-American Angelenos, the fight for a Living Wage Ordinance, and the need to build governing coalitions in a polyglot city. (All this in a TV hour!)

225 years ago, 44 pobladores, settlers of different races, set out for a long walk that ended on the banks of a river. They founded a city and they called it Los Angeles.

Their long walk continues today.

It continues in the marches of the janitors and the housekeepers in the streets of our city. It continues when men and women climb the steps to city hall to petition for a living wage law to treat the city’s workers fairly. And it continues as immigrant workers pace their own precincts, rousing the "sleeping giant".

Of course, the movie was completed before the commencement of these historic protests against the criminalization of immigrant men and women. But clearly, the three-quarter-million strong in our streets are walking the same walk—towards justice, inclusion, and a new Los Angeles—as the pobladores 225 years ago.