Retracing our Steps

Greetings Los Angeles,

I hope this note finds you in peace. It’s been just over a month since I last got to write through these pages, but what a month it’s been! Now near the middle of March, things seem to have normalized in a substantial way since the rocky start of the new year, even if what counts as ‘normal’ is still a subject of fierce debate.

In the city of L.A., this week we just capped off a round of Municipal and Special Elections, though the turnout for the elections wasn’t very galvanizing; standing at a paltry 11.45%, the 2017 electorate’s turnout actually outdid the previous low for an election in which the mayor’s seat was up for contention when in 2013 just 18% of eligible voters decided who was best fit for the job.

When reflecting on the turnout this week in an interview, the L.A. County Registrar admitted that the current setup for people to cast their ballots is “arguably outdated”. It’s high time for the registrar to acknowledge this.

The truth is that as a geopolitical landscape in the 21st century, L.A. is more decentralized than ever before; looking at the city from the street or from above, one would be hard pressed to pinpoint a sense of community in the constant conveyor belt of cars stuck in traffic through it. The more inconvenient truth, of course, is that both drivers and pedestrians share the pollution made by the carbon footprint of so much exhaust and oil emitted into the air.

Even so, 11.45%? No way! But there is a larger point here.

In an effort to follow the elections as closely as possible for POC Today–and also because I just couldn’t keep myself from looking–over the last month I’ve uncovered a treasure cove of data regarding the political framework of Los Angeles. The result is a true backdrop of information that will serve as a place from which ideas and momentum will be born for POCT going forward. For example, check out the table below to get an idea of the look and feel of L.A. as a geopolitical entity.

Screenshot 2017-03-08 at 4.38.00 PM - Edited.png
Of course the table can only say so much. But keep in mind that L.A. is arguably the least viewable metropolis in the West, which is to say that when visitors get here, the common question will almost always be…just where is the place? As in, where does it begin, and where exactly does it end? Unlike that other city out in the east coast, or the one up north from us in the bay, Los Angeles is spread out and spread thin like syrup on a waffle. But not just any waffle. It’s got sticks of butter laden on top, and varying portions of blueberries and strawberry slices pinned throughout. Sprinkled across these toppings are the people.

And in this way, when stuck in between some part of the waffleL.A. can hardly see itself, and there is hardly an “L.A.” except as seen on Dodger caps and commercials. The only thing that’s certain for people from the table above is that traffic is getting worse by the day, and that sure it’s getting warmer out…but what are you gonna do? What’s also certain is that downtown L.A. is definitely building all sorts of stuff now, too. And that that Trump guy? What a headache.

Which of course leads us to: what vote? There is no vote! Too many votes with your vote for this here and your vote for that there!

But with more in no time,

J.T.

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