The Work Continues, Los Angeles

Everything is moving so quickly. I feel the world spinning. I see my place in it, and though a part of me just wants to celebrate every bloom now springing all throughout my environment, the rest of myself -the one in movement- is just focused on getting, getting, and getting through to it all.

On Friday of this upcoming week I return to my alma mater at King Middle School for some more work with The Plus Me Project. This is followed by an important workshop for the day at L.A. Trade Tech.

The Friday after that, I’m set to hit my alma mater at UC Davis for the tenth annual SAYS conference, and my second year in a row presenting there. Then, there are a myriad of appointments in between and right afterwards so that May will evaporate in a feverish lapse like L.A. winter.

On May 25th, an anchor of worlds leaves the shore for me to see, that is, on classified terms, which will require another trip out North. Then, just a weekend after that, I get back to LAX again, this time for another flight to a world once thought impossible. Also classified, that is! Until further notice, at least.

Just. Like. That.

What do you think, Los Angeles?

The fact is that it’s you that moved us to it.

J.T.

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Housing, Climate Change, California

Los Angeles Shine, California
Los Angeles Sunshine, California

Most Angelenos today can see that we’re at an historic juncture with the city, as housing is at the forefront of social issues facing Los Angeles and the whole state of California. I can appreciate my personal position within the dynamic: I’m 27 years old and still living at home with my mom, where the two of us halve the rent in a rent-controlled unit within an area that’s only recently been dubbed as “East Hollywood.”

The situation is precarious; like many Angelenos, my mother immigrated to the United States from Mexico in the 1980s with virtually no wealth in assets, and although in a few years she’ll be able to claim social security benefits and plans to apply for housing assistance based on her income, she also understands that there is virtually no guarantee she’ll be able to secure anything.

She is one of millions of recently migrated Angelenos whose future is not exactly accounted for, and I’m one of a generation of millennials whose opportunity to build a home as it’s traditionally thought of is at an historic low. The question is obvious, then: where are people like my mother and I going, exactly? And in the case of a disaster, how could people in such circumstances possibly survive?

At the same time, during the past year the state’s wildfires and subsequent mudslide tragedies showed any Californians reading their papers how the fiscal and logistical burdens placed on the state by more extreme weather patterns are only growing dramatically in cost, size, and frequency alike. The events also revealed how regardless of where people fall on the income ladder, the state is largely under-prepared to help.

So then, where are the people of California going? One way or another, we’ve got to find out. Then we’ve got to share that information, and move. The rest is Jimbo Times.

J.T.

Meanwhile, back in The City…

It’s supposed to be a super-duper hot one today.

Stay fresh and sun-screened Los Angeles,

Not to mention hydrated!

J.T.

The California Dream


is a beautiful economy. Stop by one of our fruit-stands sometime, and find out all about it.

And when you do, don’t forget to tip your servers! They work long and hard hours to serve us under the sun, and are therefore worth every bit of the people’s respect.

Wishing the world a gorgeous rest of the weekend,

J.T.

Remembering the Times: March 2006

2006.jpgEMILIO FLORES / LA OPINIÓN

I was doing some reading earlier when I suddenly realized that it’s been just a little over ten years since the historic march against House Resolution 4437, which was a bill that sought to make undocumented immigrants into felons for lacking citizenship, as well as to criminalize organizations that offered assistance to them, including clinics, churches, and other non-profit organizations.

I was fifteen years old in 2006, and I walked out of school with my peers to march alongside other students and workers across Los Angeles and the country in solidarity with immigrant families. Schools were on lock-down all across the city, but the voices of the students would not be repressed. The walk-outs culminated on Saturday, March 25, 2006, when an estimated 500,000 to 1 million people stormed the streets of downtown L.A. to protest.

downtown
LA OPINIÓN/ARCHIVES

What a marvelous time it was to be a teenager! The massive, nationwide marches pressured legislators to withdraw H.R. 4437, and created momentum that would last over the next few years for pro-immigrant organizers and their allies.

More than anything though, the marches would inspire a generation of new leaders, who saw how the power of their pueblo was truly a formidable force when united; students linked arms with their parents, workers with allies, and so much more.

Today, Jimbo Times still owes its philosophy to a chant I first heard when marching with the people on the streets of downtown L.A: El pueblo unido, jamas sera vencido!

The people united will never be divided.

J.T.

 

Winding Down

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As much as I might love The City, everyone needs to get away sometimes! And as the days go by, I’m fortunate to have more than a few places to go, and even a few more people to see!

With Laav,

J.T.

City of Quartz: On Real Estate

So from its beginnings, L.A. was a place for the rich, by the rich, all of whom wanted to sell Los Angeles to the masses. Mike Davis examines a couple of major institutions and their forerunners as follows:

“I begin with the so-called ‘Arroyo set’: writers, antiquarians, and publicists under the influence of Charles Fletcher Lummis (himself in the pay of the Times and the Chamber of Commerce), who at the turn of the century created a comprehensive fiction of Southern California as the promised land of a millenarian Anglo-Saxon racial odyssey. They inserted a mediterraneanized idyll of New England life into the perfumed ruins of an innocent but inferior ‘Spanish’ culture. In doing so, they wrote the script for the giant real-estate speculations of the early twentieth century that transformed Los Angeles from small town to metropolis. Their imagery, motifs, values and legends were in turn endlessly reproduced by Hollywood, while continuing to be incorporated into ersatz landscapes of suburban Southern California.”

Here, I don’t have to look far to find the ‘comprehensive fiction’ Davis describes, as memorabilia of L.A.’s idyllic lifestyle are abound:

la-07bytrainglorious
Free Harbor and Glorious Southern California are brought to you by the L.A. Public Library, while California this Summer was found through the California State Library.

In Free Harbor (1899), the L.A. ports of 1899 are overseen by a flock of little white angels, who promise great things to come for the land neighbored by the ocean and overseen by triumphant sunlight. In similar fashion, Jubilee‘s trumpet signals the rise of an American dream in California’s ports, from which freedom and eloquence naturally follow.

California This Summer (1934) makes similar gestures, as the poster captures a world with a little bit of everything, including a state of beaches, lush and green hills, and even mountaintops to quietly conquer as the fair lady with the sunhat does. Life in the portrait looks simple and untainted by the dirt of cities and the congestion of crowds. A perfect summer vacation.

Glorious Southern California (1907) exhausts the point. On one side, the ocean waves signal the life of unchartered waters, while below, the life of cactus and other plants serve to welcome dreams of real estate and other property in an open frontier.

As Davis notes, all of the posters promise Anglo-saxon or white purity, making no allusion or reference to the Spanish-speaking brown cultures which gave California its name, nor the pockets of indigenous civilizations throughout the state which were pushed out to make way for the influx of newcomers. Instead, real estate moguls figured out that depicting a world of endless sunshine and openness would be a draw, and they were absolutely right. As Quartz reveals, such images of Southern California would be endlessly reproduced in Hollywood throughout the decades that’d follow, and well into the present.

It reminds me of a similar trend in my neighborhood at the moment, where real estate agencies dub the area as Silverlake, when in fact the city recognizes it as ‘East Hollywood’. As a neighbor pointed out to me, “when out-of-towners arrive into their new apartments from Seattle and other parts of the country, they’re surprised: there’s no lake, and the apartments are much smaller than they thought, so they just leave, and the cycle starts all over again.

With more soon,