Ploughshares Into Swords

I’m glad Tony Pierce can see the humor in Martini Republic’s chiding of him for “failing” to dive LAist into the exclamated blogoblather brewed up over the inevitable eviction of the croppers from Ralph Horowitz’s property yesterday. It took me a second read to get the sense that it was a good-natured jab, and still only somewhat.

I suppose like a good southpaw I should just be righteously indignant that these little people who worked the land and made something of nothing were so summarily and inconsiderately given the boot, but I’m finding it hard to blame Horowitz for his actions, or to consider him the bad guy in all this. I’m waaaay more inclined to look back a couple years and point my middle finger at the city itself for putting the property up for sale in the first place.

In the L.A. Times article today, Horowitz is quoted as saying that he was fed up with the insults and the legal battles and all the bullshit and even if the farmers or their benefactors had come up with $50 million he would have told them all to go to hell. Frankly, I don’t blame him one bit.

Sure, it would be far easier to accept if it were a homeless encampment being disbanded from some derelict wastefield, but instead it’s a plot of land so infused with the symbolism of self-sufficiency, cooperation, hope and renewal. It was from the ashes of the horrible 1992 riots that this site rose to flourish with life and sustenance brought forth by the hands and hearts of its area residents. And now that’s all going away to be replaced by warehouses.

It’s easy to despise that end result, but again I don’t blame the land’s lord. Nor do I blame the people who worked that land (though I think they’re playing the exploited card a weeeeeeee bit too hard). Neither do I go on without saying it is far more complex an issue than to boil it down to the city as the bad guy. Nevertheless whoever over at City Hall back in 2003 failed to recognize the importance of this agricultural cooperative and instead orchestrated and architected the sale of a whole lotta heart and soul for a few million dollars is the entity that gets my enmity.

And now that we’re in the post-game Mayor Villaraigosa, it would really be best if you would stop your whining about Horowitz being the roadblock to the farm’s survival because he refused to take the way late bait.

The Midnight Ridazz route brought us around the farm and its tenants last Friday night.