When it was announced that LAPD Chief Charles Beck was to be in attendance at this week’s City Council Transportation Committee meeting Wednesday, I would have bet good money that he wouldn’t show. Nothing against Beck, it’s just that in the recent past there have been blow-offs by the department to requests by the committee for reports and presentations, so it wouldn’t surprise me if its chief suddenly found something more productive to do than placate a passel of cycling types.
Then I heard that that Carmen Trutanich’s office had declined to file charges against the suspect who struck cyclist Ed Magos on January 6 and then, after getting out and observing a seriously injured Magos on the ground pleading for help, got back in her Porsche Cayenne and left the scene. This absolution against someone so criminally culpable and morally bankrupt compounded the frustration I was already feeling when I’d heard that the suspect later turned herself in to police telling them that “I may have hit something,” only to have the police for all intents and purposes condone such reprehensible behavior by sending her on her way instead of arresting her for felony hit and run.
Come the morning of the committee meeting I was pretty much the grumbliest cyclist in the city and made the snap decision to take a personal day, telling my boss something along the lines that “an important and pressing matter needs my immediate and direct attention.”
Then at noon I pedaled over to Heliotrope and Melrose in East Hollywood to meet up with a group of cyclists organized by the L.A. County Bike Coalition who were heading to City Hall and the committee meeting via the route that Magos took the day he got hit.
One of the items on my agenda as an Angeleno has been to visit City Council chambers, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d ever task myself with speaking there. But despite how much I hate doing so, I knew I had to do more than represent physically. For better or worse I had to verbalize it as well.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the lectern mic with all the bombast I’d been planning to drop. Beck took the wind totally out of my sails by addressing the Magos incident specifically in his opening statement at the beginning of the meeting. He said he recognized that the ball got dropped and that people were pissed and as such had spoken with Trutanich’s office, which had agreed to take another look at the issue (whatever that means).
So whereas I had been planning on using loaded words like “abomination,” “insulting,” “ignorant,” and “wouldn’t know justice if it hit them from behind and fled the scene” to characterize what I saw as uninvolved and uncommitted police and prosecution departments, I toned it down a bit, as follows:
Having the good fortune to be one of 8,750 out of the million-plus who requested tix, I just got back from biking over to Dodger Stadium to pick up the necessary ornamentation and documentation to permit me enter the Kingdom of Jackopalooza tomorrow.
Gotta admit, I submitted my request to attend the Michael Jackson Memorial at Staples Center tomorrow far more to just bear witness to the public spectacle than to publicly bare any grief at his passing.
And when yesterday came and went without getting confirmation — especially with the news that I was literally among a million-plus vying to be one of the 8,750 bestowed with tickets — I shrugged and moved on.
Then I checked my email this morning — and there were two in my inbox from Staples Center. I opened, the second one first, delivered at 12:10 a.m. this morning, which advised:
Thank you for your registration.
Sorry, we regret to inform you that your registration to attend the Public Memorial Service for Michael Jackson was not selected.
Hundreds of thousands registered, but only a few can be in attendance.
And I shrugged again, thinking it was at least nice of Staples not to leave anyone hanging.
Figuring it was just a repeat I opened the second email, which was datestamped earlier, at 10 p.m. yesterday. Whoa, it was the exact opposite:
Your application to attend the Michael Jackson Public Memorial Service at STAPLES Center this Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, was successful!
Please read this notice carefully. This is your chance to receive two tickets for either the service in the STAPLES Center (subject to availability) or a live big-screen simulcast in the adjacent Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE.
Instructions To Obtain Your Two Tickets and Security Wristbands Are:
Click on the GET VOUCHER button below before Monday, July 6, 2009 at 11:59 a.m. Pacific Time.
Select 1 in the quantity window.
Enter your unique password into the box as prompted.
Click Find Tickets button
Continue through security screen
Create a new ticketmaster account or use existing account by entering information requested
Choose appropriate ticket fast delivery method for your country
Enter information as requested to Submit Order
You will see a confirmation screen confirming that your order is processed. THIS IS NOT YOUR TICKET.
WAIT: You will receive an email that will link to your voucher
Click on “Pick up your tickets” within the email
Select VIEW AND PRINT tickets
Print the Ticketmaster voucher. THIS IS YOUR VOUCHER. Your voucher will read “This is your ticket” and contain a barcode. You must print out this voucher and bring it with you, along with your valid I.D. to Dodger Stadium on Monday, July 6, 2009, between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time to obtain your two tickets and two wristbands.
I went through the process and indeed I was successful in completing it. So despite Staples Center first takething away and then givingeth, it looks like I’ll be heading up to Dodger Stadium today and then Staples Center (or Nokia Theater) tomorrow.
Frankly though I’ve mourned the passing of a voice and talent that I literally grew up with, Michael Jackson’s public memorial madhouse service scheduled for Tuesday at Staples Center is so not a be-all/end-all event for me and I submitted my request for tickets rather sheepishly.
I’ll be veeeeeeeery surprised if my name gets pulled from among what will undoubtedly be the hundreds of thousands out of the proverbial hat. But if indeed I become the recipient of tix to the event and seeing as I have the day off I might just bike on down into the vortex of the grief storm to see what I shall see.
And if the scene turns out to be even more out-of-this-universe crazy than expected I can always adjourn to Wurstkuche or Blue Star and raise a glass in private tribute.
With the exception of last year’s Bike To Work Day where there was a sponsored pit stop basically around the corner from my house, my various routes to my various work places over the various Bike To Work days over the various years have left me a geogrpahical outcast in terms of partaking of the scheduled shwag ‘n snack spots set up to serve any passing bike commuters.
So this year I’m making up for all the lost pit stops past by leaving eeeearly tomorrow morning to give me plenty o’ time to hit all six stations downtown and one in Culver City:
Video timelapsification of last night’s “Orange Team” route of Midnight Ridazz Dischordian Ride, at least the first two legs of it:
It was a good ride, cut short because unbeknownst to Sean Bonner and I, our Orange Team took off for it’s third leg and we were left behind. We could’ve hustled and caught up, but it was coldish and windy so we grinded our way back up through the headwinds to Brite Spot in Echo Park for a bite and some warmth before calling it a night.