Note to Self: Boycott Arizona’s Racist Laws

Many ELA Artists, Community Members, Activists and Students have left their 3 day weekend barbecue plans behind to join others working to end the border militarization and racist, colonial laws  that have been adopted by Arizona through a Senate Bill called SB1070.  Many states and cities in the US have joined in boycotting this unconstitutional law, through public criticism in the press and by ceasing all their state and city business with  Arizona. Many local artists speak out publicly through music and exhibit. (More to come, of course.)

This racist law attacks not only the migrant, indigenous and humans of hue, but also the principles of freedom and democracy which this country was founded on.  In the face of Arizona’s police state oppression towards the marginalize and poor people there, the victim Arizona community is asking for  support through peaceful protests and boycotts of these unjust laws which legalize business and home raids; detain citizens based on physical appearance; expel those who cannot immediately produce or refuse to carry documents regarding their citizenship; sanctify sweeps and patrolling of sacred Native American lands near the border without permission; and disregard the American constitutional right to pursuit of happiness (through a peaceful and safe environment) .  Denial of these rights affect us all.

Memorial Day

Evergreen Cemetery, Boyle Heights

Evergreen Cemetery, Boyle Heights

The official and American observance of Memorial Day is to honor people who died while in the military service. In the Japanese American community, Memorial Day was adapted to be a way to honor the ancestors. Those who know some Japanese call it “haka mairi” which means “visiting graves”.

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Day Trippin’: El Golfito aka Golfland!

I mean really, who has money to go anywhere these days? The fake ass economists keep talking up the fact that stocks rich people own are doing slightly better, like it has any bearing on our miserable lives. Woohoo, GM turned a profit after they were showered with tax dollars! Fucking Yay! The surge of employment due to the temporary I’ll-take-anything-now Census jobs  is suddenly a harbinger of good times ahead! Reading the news is inspiring.

Yet at my job there’s talk that they will close up shop, or at least get rid of some of the expendables. (And we are all expendable.) It’s all worries and rumors about the impending doom. Better start saving my nickels. And so my weekends are reduced to finding amusing things to do a bit closer to home, things that will keep me distracted from the precarious nature of our current means of survival. Hmm, now I understand why my parents brought me to this place all those years ago.

I present to you this cheap distraction, an institution that doubles as an old friend: Golfland!

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Golden Gate Theater now showing…

Photo by Al Desmadre

Perhaps you’ve all heard the bad news by now – instead of East Los getting a new theater or cultural arts center, we can now say with pride, we are home to a new CVS drugstore. Start the celebration! According to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, this CVS will bring jobs to the area. Yay, minimum wage part-time jobs! What more could we ask for?

Here’s more from the Los Angeles Times article:

Los Angeles County supervisors unanimously voiced support Tuesday for the conversion of the long-abandoned Golden Gate Theater in East Los Angeles into a 24-hour drugstore despite passionate last-minute appeals by some residents to block the project.

“This is not just a building. It is a theater … a monument, the last one in East L.A.,” Sam Barraza told the supervisors. “This is not just a geographic or development battle … the spirit of East L.A. is at stake.”

and from the business side:

“The addition of a national pharmacy chain will be a tremendous benefit,” said Jesse Torres, chief executive of East L.A.-based Pan American Bank.

“We have to have those stores and retailers,” said Al Rivera, who supports the plan. “CVS will be looked at by other corporations. We want to make sure other corporations and investors look at East L.A. as a business-friendly community.”

In my opinion, “business-friendly community” means “hey, we are willing to do whatever you want, come exploit us!” Is that what might happen if East Los Angeles is able to incorporate itself as an independent city? No thanks!

About a year ago, LA Eastside posted a story about efforts to save the theater from commercial development. You can read the piece here.

Bus Riders Union Hunger Strike for Justice

As of May 20, members from the Bus Riders Union began a hunger fast on the grass area of Placita Olvera to stop MTA from increasing fares from $1.25 to $1.50 for regular fare, a day pass will be $6, weekly passes will be $20, and a monthly pass will be $75. These fare increases are scheduled to take place during the summer.  MTA released their budget for the next fiscal year to the public breaking down where they would be making cuts, who much money is allotted to what and the increase in bus fares. Esperanza Martinez, one of the lead organizers for the union says that the increased fares are being passed down and targeting minorities, who are the majority of people that rely on the bus. All the poor people who depend on the bus for their livelihoods. People who commute everyday to work, school or just to get to doctor appointments and everyday commuting.

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The DREAM is coming

“This past Monday, on the anniversary of landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education, Lizbeth Mateo of Los Angeles, Mohammad Abdollahi of Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Yahaira Carrillo of Kansas City, Missouri; were detained Tucson, Arizona, after staging a sit-in at Senator John McCain’s office. With this challenge to local and federal law, these youth hope to highlight the urgency of legislative action in Congress, and catalyze mass grassroots mobilization to pass the DREAM Act before June 15th.”

Lizbeth, Mohammad and Yahaira are undocumented students. They are DREAM Act family. Like all the other undocumented students throughout the country, they can no longer sit idly by as life keeps passing us by. Whenever an undoc student speaks out in public, whenever we travel and whenever we organize rallies and protest, we are putting ourselves at risk for detainment and deportation. These three leaders have put themselves on the front lines because the time for the DREAM Act to be brought to Congress as a stand alone bill and be passed. Since it was first introduced 8 years ago, the DREAM Act is the only way college educated undoc students have to fix their immigration status.

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King of the Hill

Spotted by Rosa Delgado at 5:16 pm today

After twelve years of searching, the good folks of Audubon Center at Debs Park finally spotted the elusive California King Snake today in the park.

Jeff Chapman, Director of the Audubon Center told LA Eastside:

“These guys have been seen in City Terrace, Ascot Hills, and Flat Top. I used to do reptile monitoring with kids from Franklin before the center and we never found them. Three years ago, we put out boards in the park and checked them periodically, but again we never detected them. So, this is very exciting for us and for the whole human/non-human community in the Northeast!”

If you live on the Eastside but have yet to visit the Audubon Center, now’s the time! There are all sorts of activities for children and adults and a very enjoyable trail from which you can take in the local floral and fauna of Debs Park.

Audubon Center at Debs Park
4700 North Griffin Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90031
(323) 221-2255

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m to 5 p.m.

The Audubon Center at Debs Park opened in 2003 as an environmental education and conservation center for the communities of northeast Los Angeles. The Center is located in the third largest park in the city of Los Angeles. More than half of the park is covered in walnut-oak woodland, grassland, and coastal sage scrub, a remnant of the native habitats that once rimmed the Los Angeles Basin. Over 140 species of birds have been recorded here.

My mom was arrested for illegally selling tamales

“You know they cannot do this, without permits, they cannot do this without making sure the Health Department is on board, and the impact it has on the community—you have restaurants that are there with permits and so forth, they have the proper equipment, they have sinks, they have restrooms and then you have people on the streets that are vending illegally and it’s against the law. And now basically what the officers are doing is enforcing the codes,” said Hollenbeck Division Police Captain Anita Ortega. ~ Quote from the EGP News Article “We were treated like common criminals.”

“Although I can understand the plight of the illegal vendors, I am totally against the fact that they have been allowed to conduct business in Boyle Heights and other communities in Los Angeles. It is important to note that these individuals are taking away from the legal business owners who are doing everything that is require by law that includes paying taxes, insurance, rent and often employing others from the community. We need to take a stand and demand that the various agencies that should be taking steps to stop these vendors (police, city and local government taxing agencies, health department and local electeds) should be doing just that….ensure that all laws are enforced….no excuses. It should be noted that most of the City of Los Angeles does not have have this problem due to proper enforcement. We only ask for the same enforcement actions. We need to protect our business owners and the community members against the health hazards and fraud that is associated with illegal vending. Our neighborhoods deserve better. I look forward to our elected representatives to do the right thing and get a handle on this situation. There is no middle ground on this issue. This needs to be stopped NOW.” ~ Comment posted from the same article by Renee Chavez Continue reading