South Central Farmers learn bittler lesson of the role of the courts and politicians.
This morning at approximately five a.m., Sheriff’s deputies invaded the largest urban farm in the country, paving the way for developer Ralph Horowitz to destroy it and build a warehouse. Though the Annenberg Foundation announced last week that it had become directly involved in negotiations to buy the land and save the farm, apparently Ralph Horowitz couldn’t wait. It is a sad day because the Farmers placed their hopes on the courts and seemingly friendly politicians and both institutions failed them. They showed that ultimately the courts serve the wealthy and the politicians serve those that provide them with reelection funds. Ralph Horowitz’ attitude during this whole affair has been deplorable. He bought the land from the City for five million dollars and three years later demanded 16.3 million dollars for it. There are those that would justify this gross inflation in price on “the market,” but the ‘invisible hand’ of City officials was clearly behind it. Was it not developer-friendly Rockard Delgadillo who advised the Council to sell the land back to Horowitz below its true market value? It is a sad day for the Council of our City, whose members have mostly sat on their hands while this injustice was unfolding. Some have voiced support at times, while others have hidden behind the courts and acted as apologists for the entire sordid affair.
But most heinous has been the attitude of Jan Perry, supposed representative of Council District Nine where both the farm and the towering skyscrapers of downtown LA are located. Perry has done the bidding for Horowitz within the Council and has worked tirelessly to destroy the resolve of the farmers. She has paraded before the Council former farmers who gave up the struggle and accepted plots in other cities or in other Council Districts, among them some awaiting trial for assault on their former leaders. She has demonized the Farmers’ leadership before City Council and has unleashed her lackeys to attack them in the media. Though the eastern portion of Council District 9 is one of the most polluted parts of the City, Perry has done nothing to save this green lung. She never even visited it, despite countless invitations by the Farmers. Her role has a sad aspect to it, but for the most part it has been divisive, polarizing and hostile. Though some members of the Council have expressed a passion for wanting to represent the ‘others’ in this ‘tale of two cities’ that is today’s LA, for the most part what we have seen is politicians primarily motivated by the need to be reelected. Since elections have become mere commodities to be bought and sold, who can blame the mediocre and weak among you from doing the bidding of wealthy contributors or potential contributors while turning your backs on those of humble means.
We are saddened by today’s events but we will not forget them, nor will we forget those responsible for letting them happen. We will draw strength from our sorrow and continue to struggle.
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