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Hope Springs . . . at the South Central Farm

by Leslie Radford Sunday, May. 21, 2006 at 8:24 PM

Last month, the Trust for Public Land negotiated purchase option with developer Ralph Horowitz that depended on the City coming up with a M match for M raised by the South Central Farm. Five days ago, the City reneged on the deal. Friday, with three days left, the Farmers and their supporters, ever hopeful, demanded that Mayor Villaraigosa step up to support the Farm.

Hope Springs . . . a...
villaraigosa_message5.jpg, image/jpeg, 500x357

LOS ANGELES, 20 May 2006--How do you make a miracle?  Saturday the recipe was 150 South Central Farmers and their supporters--Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Mexicans, Chican@s, Africans, and people of European descent--a meeting of Latino business leaders, and LA. Mayor Villaraigosa.  

Ron Kovic, disabled anti-war Vietnam veteran, tonight will add a procession with community religious leaders and a fast to save the Farm.  The Farm sent out a call to the community: "An invitation to all spiritual leaders is extended to join the South Central Farmers, as they will act on foot, on knees and through candle-lit prayer that their sacred community land is preserved.  It is with hope that this act of penance will rectify any and all debts that both the community and its leaders may hold giving reason for both the physical and spiritual destruction of the South Central Farm."

On Monday, the Farmers will find out if their penance and prayers work.

Despite support from throughout Los Angeles and the world, despite contributions in the millions of dollars, despite the endorsements of enough celebrities to fill an awards show, earlier this week word came down that City Hall was voiding its promise to help the Farm.  Farm supporters transformed into vigilers, drumming to the moon nightly outside the Mayor's official Getty House residence; Friday night the Mayor arrived home at midnight and bolted past the protestors.

Saturday morning, still dogging the Mayor, the Farmers transported their press conference and protest from City Hall to the Convention Center, where the Mayor's entourage circled the block to find a way into the Mayor's meeting with Latino business leaders while avoiding the Farmers' line.  One Farm supporter noted that "The City can fund a new stadium, it can extend the Metro.  Villaraigosa could save the Farm if he wanted to.  He'll have to live with the consequences." 

An organizer pondered, "He promised million, million, million.  Nothing's come through.  Why?  We don't know--that's what we're here trying to find out."  It was 10:30 a.m., the Mayor was finally in the house, and the organizer left to join a circle of  protestors.  They spiraled out from the street at Figueroa and Pico to the plaza between the Convention Center and the Staples Center, directly underneath the Mayor's meeting.

"An-ton-io, save the Farm!"  The protestors pounded on green-painted buckets and beat rhythms on metallic light poles.  "Save the Farm--three more days!" the protestors invoked, undoubtedly disrupting the meeting above.

"¡Se puede! Se puede! Se puede, sí!"  The din echoed between the buildings.  "¡Antonio, escucha! Estamos en la lucha!"

One Farm supporter explained that the Farm was about, "Self-sustainability, ecological preservation of green spaces in industrialized and urbanized cities.  It's the preservation of Indigenous cultures."  Then she added, "My own personal culture."

Convention Center security had locked down the building, but not before several Farm supporters managed to get inside to confront the Mayor.  The Mayor talked about the affluence of the Spanish-language business community in Los Angeles and about achieving the American dream.  When the supporters reappeared to tell the story to a bevy of those outside, they added, "The American Dream has to be bought.  It doesn't come for free." 

According to Farm leaders, the fate of the Farm is wound in a tangle of City Hall politics.  Jan Perry, council member ostensibly representing the Farm, has been actively discouraging potential major donors, according to the Farm representative, advocating instead for industrial development.  Meanwhile, according to the same spokesperson, the Mayor is afraid of antagonizing council members as he maneuvers for control of LAUSD.  The representative urged both Perry and Villaraigosa to "put aside the narcissism of petty differences and do something constructive."  In a message to Perry, he offered, "We aren't that far apart.  It takes livable communities to attract jobs."

Councilmember Bill Rosendahl visited the Farm last week, and reportedly was impressed with what he found.

Three years ago, the City took back the fourteen acre informal dump it had allowed low-income families to clear and work for food since the 1992 Uprising, and sold the land to developer Ralph Horowitz for a warehouse, for just over M.  The City's price was M less than the price it asked of the L.A. Harbor Department some nine years earlier, long before the land, in 2002, was designated a part of the valuable Alameda Corridor development project.  Since the sale, twice a week the Farmers have laid down their hoes and marched through City Hall, to talk to the turned backs of the City Council.  The Farmers took their plaint to court, asserting violations of the City Charter.  They eventually lost in the California State of Appeals against the combined legal forces of the City and Horowitz.  When the Farmers tried to negotiate a sale through the City and then the Trust for Public Land, Horowitz raised the price of the land to .3M.

Meanwhile, people from Australia to Thailand to Scotland are contributing their support.  Last week, Ben Harper dedicated his homepage to the Farm and added his voice to those of  Leonardo DiCaprio, Aztlan Underground, Tom Morello, Peter Camejo, Julia Butterfly Hill, Immortal Technique, Ozomatli, and Zach de la Rocha in support for the Farm.  And the Farm continues to welcome the community to events like Sunday's market, while joining in community actions, including participating in tomorrow's "Hands Off Venezuela and Cuba" demonstration.

Reportedly, the Farm will soon add the legendary songstress Joan Baez to its list of petitioners. 

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don't turn your back . . .

by Leslie Radford Sunday, May. 21, 2006 at 8:24 PM

don't turn your back...
message_to_villaraigosa.jpga604qi.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x450

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evict food!?!

by Leslie Radford Sunday, May. 21, 2006 at 8:24 PM

evict food!?!...
dont_evict_food.jpgezunjn.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x308

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Villaraigosa enjoys the Farm

by Leslie Radford Sunday, May. 21, 2006 at 8:24 PM

Villaraigosa enjoys ...
villaraigosa_on_the_farm2.jpg310iwu.jpg, image/jpeg, 350x467

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Atenco, U.S. style

by Leslie Radford Sunday, May. 21, 2006 at 8:24 PM

Atenco, U.S. style...
atenco1.jpgc3fdmy.jpg, image/jpeg, 450x297

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save the Farm

by Leslie Radford Sunday, May. 21, 2006 at 8:24 PM

save the Farm...
leslie_age_5.jpgt0m6xk.jpg, image/jpeg, 204x400

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the eyes of the Farm

by Leslie Radford Sunday, May. 21, 2006 at 8:24 PM

the eyes of the Farm...
farm_mask.jpguil7h4.jpg, image/jpeg, 375x281

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aqui estamos

by Leslie Radford Sunday, May. 21, 2006 at 8:24 PM

aqui estamos...
aqui_estamos.jpgsdffgp.jpg, image/jpeg, 255x450

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another message to Villaraigosa

by Leslie Radford Sunday, May. 21, 2006 at 8:24 PM

another message to V...
message_to_villaraigosa7.jpgbpfmtl.jpg, image/jpeg, 500x397

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what would Chavez do?

by Leslie Radford Sunday, May. 21, 2006 at 8:24 PM

what would Chavez do...
cesar_chavez_would_have.jpgur6mdi.jpg, image/jpeg, 374x425

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 41 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
yeah, well... grimace Sunday, May. 21, 2006 at 10:51 PM
His true colors Joaquin Monday, May. 22, 2006 at 2:04 AM
Villaraigo$$$$$a Jome Boy Monday, May. 22, 2006 at 4:17 AM
Lies from the Mayor office well documented A Monday, May. 22, 2006 at 3:27 PM
Antonio is NOT a PIG! He is Our FRIEND! Senor Juan Monday, May. 22, 2006 at 7:41 PM
Seek Honesty Maya Monday, May. 22, 2006 at 7:47 PM
Where is $$$$$$? Don Manuel Sunday, May. 28, 2006 at 7:35 PM
Fraudulent Posts Watchale Monday, May. 29, 2006 at 4:56 AM
Freedom of Speech Dona Tesa Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 6:53 PM
The Truth Jose Torres Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 11:45 PM
Rufina Juarez is very Mean and Abusive! The Original South Central Farmers Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 5:11 AM
Mean and Abusive Chacon Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 8:36 AM
How much $$$$$$ has the farm raised so far? Public Thursday, Jun. 01, 2006 at 4:09 AM
Question Jan Blakely Friday, Jun. 02, 2006 at 10:52 PM
Homework Assignment Senora Garcia Friday, Jun. 02, 2006 at 10:55 PM
IS IT TRUE? Gayle Bronson Sunday, Jun. 04, 2006 at 6:46 AM
No.. but Frank M Sunday, Jun. 04, 2006 at 8:18 AM
Response Gayle B. Sunday, Jun. 04, 2006 at 1:46 PM
Questions Sandwich Repairman Sunday, Jun. 04, 2006 at 6:08 PM
I thought they protested !! Sunday, Jun. 04, 2006 at 11:18 PM
More Questions? CK Monday, Jun. 05, 2006 at 1:17 AM
MTA Job Societist Monday, Jun. 05, 2006 at 3:49 AM
Movie Stars Help The Wrong Cause Real Activist Monday, Jun. 05, 2006 at 1:27 PM
Take Off Your Mask Aztec Dancer Monday, Jun. 05, 2006 at 3:42 PM
Masks, Indeed Tlanextic Tuesday, Jun. 06, 2006 at 6:08 AM
Lofts and Stars Cynic 5 Tuesday, Jun. 06, 2006 at 8:22 AM
Response to Mask Indeed Real Chicano Tuesday, Jun. 06, 2006 at 11:57 AM
Dear "Real" Chicano/ "Real" Acitivist/ "Real" Farmer Real Es Tlanextic Tuesday, Jun. 06, 2006 at 12:49 PM
Real Farmer / Real ESTATE Agent Tlanextic Tuesday, Jun. 06, 2006 at 12:54 PM
Response to Tlanextic Citizen Tuesday, Jun. 06, 2006 at 2:14 PM
20 NOT 250 Tlanextic Tuesday, Jun. 06, 2006 at 10:02 PM
250 + Not 20 Citizen Wednesday, Jun. 07, 2006 at 12:13 AM
20 NOT 250 Tlanextic Wednesday, Jun. 07, 2006 at 6:23 AM
250+ Not 20 Farmer Wednesday, Jun. 07, 2006 at 11:35 AM
Response to Leslie CK Thursday, Jun. 08, 2006 at 9:59 PM
Rufina Juarez=Wanna Be Activist JT Monday, Jun. 12, 2006 at 3:53 PM

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