EPISODE 79 – KATE PYNOOS FOR CD-13

In our 79th episode, we sit down with Kate Pynoos, a former policy adviser for L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin. Kate is now running to represent Council District 13, and tells us how she’s gone from working at the staff level to throwing her own hat into the ring for leadership in the central side of Los Angeles.

J.T.

Join Thai CDC in Hollywood this Thursday, April 8th in Resistance to Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans

The rally begins at 11:00 AM at L.A. Metro’s Hollywood/Western Red Line station, and will provide free parking for attendees for the duration of the event at Thailand Plaza, located at 5231 Hollywood boulevard.

Jimbo Times proudly endorses this event for peace towards our communities.

J.T.

EPISODE 50 – THE FIGHT FOR HOUSING

For the 50th episode of our podcast, catch the LIVE recording of our third and final panel for Making Our Neighborhood: The Fight for Housing. Guests include Nina Suarez of the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council, Samanta Helou-Hernandez of This Side of Hoover, Chancee Martorell of Thai Community Development Center, Roderick Hall of Pacific Urbanism, and Caroline Calderon of Little Tokyo Service Center.

J.T.

anonymous black men with speaker and blm placards on stairs

DON’T FORGET: JOIN US FOR THE HOLLYWOOD COMMUNITY UPDATE PLAN HEARING THIS THURSDAY AT 8:30 AM

The Just Hollywood Coalition, a coalition led by a local hotel-workers union known as Unite Here Local 11, is planning to show up in mass to the Public Hearing to call for an end to Ellis act evictions in Hollywood, an end to single family home zoning for the area’s Community Update Plan, affordable housing requirements (not encouragements) in Hollywood, and more housing for workers, not hotels for the rich in Hollywood. We sure hope to catch you all there! 8:30 AM on Thursday, March 18th (zoom info on the flyer).

J.T.

black tattooed man speaking into loudspeaker during manifestation

Notice of Public Hearing: Hollywood Community Plan Update

According to the digital pamphlet for this hearing:

In its consideration of the recommended Community Plan, the City Planning Commission will conduct a limited Public Hearing to consider changes (Proposed Changes) to the recommended Plan Update proposed at the initial Public Hearing held on December 9, 2020. The Proposed Changes are proposed to respond to input received at the initial Public Hearing and include:

— The application of Open Space land use and OS zoning designations to additional hillside properties (inset page)

— A change in zoning Height District and Qualified [Q] Conditions for properties located in the Hollywood Media District area (inset page)

— A change in zoning designation from C4 to C2 within the Proposed Regional Center (inset page); and

— Amendments to the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan to clarify its relationship to the forthcoming recommended Community Plan (inset page).”

There are zero notes for @Planning4LA‘s Public Hearing this Thursday regarding the Just Hollywood Coalition‘s repeated calls for equity-based counts of affordable housing, an end to Luxury hotel development in Hollywood, and a halt to any more Ellis Act evictions in the community. However, something tells this blogger that the Coalition is not done making its voice heard over this plan yet. There’s only one way to find out. Be there via Zoom this Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 8:30 AM, Los Angeles.

J.T.

EPISODE 38 – DR. KENYA MITCHELL, PART I

In our 38th episode, we chat with Dr. Kenya Mitchell, a Black writer, professor, and lead editor for the new Mother Mortality Project: an anthology of stories by Black, Brown and Indigenous women documenting discrimination in their pregnancies at the hands of the American health-care system. Dr. Mitchell and I discuss parenting in the time of the panorama, lessons on what white people still owe the movement to dismantle racism in the U.S. post-election, Bernie Sanders’ fault-lines with Black voters in particular, and why challenging the still-abundantly racist institution of Hollywood needs very much still be a thing. Our interview was cut short due to Dr. Mitchell’s prior obligations, but expect to find more of our dialogue on J.T. The L.A. Storyteller Podcast again soon.

J.T.

Los Angeles: Unchanged

img_1151It might just be natural to view our times with pure centrality, or a point of view that’s bound to the look and feel of where we are today, right now. How can we not, when it’s what we see online and in the papers, and when it’s all we can hear on the radio, or catch on tv on the day of.

But this is what makes going back in time all the more interesting; when we see the parallels between our days and the earlier pages of history, it’s a really mesmerizing effect. Speaking of 1940’s L.A. literature and entertainment, Mike Davis describes below:

“…the most interesting transit across Los Angeles’s literary scene in the 1940s was probably the brief appearance of Black noir. Los Angeles was a particularly cruel mirage for Black writers. At first sight to the young Langston Hughes…’Los Angeles seemed more a miracle than a city, a place where oranges sold for one cent a dozen, ordinary Black folks lived in huge houses with “miles of yards”, and prosperity seemed to rein in spite of the Depression.’

Later, in 1939, when Hughes attempted to work within the studio system, he discovered that the only available role for a Black writer was furnishing demeaning dialogue for cotton-field parodies of Black life. After a humiliating experience with the film Way Down South, he declared that ‘so far as Negroes are concerned [Hollywood] might just as well be controlled by Hitler.'”

It’s a heartbreaking rendition of the industry at the time; though in the years ahead Hughes would still become a literary icon, the fact of it only magnifies the indignity of Hollywood studios belittling his talents to produce only racist screenwriting.

And yet, perhaps even more regretful is how much the industry is still made up in this way. As famed comedian Chris Rock recently highlighted in an essay for The Hollywood Reporter:

“…forget whether Hollywood is black enough. A better question is: Is Hollywood Mexican enough? You’re in L.A, you’ve got to try not to hire Mexicans. It’s the most liberal town in the world, and there’s a part of it that’s kind of racist — not racist like “F— you, nigger” racist, but just an acceptance that there’s a slave state in L.A. There’s this acceptance that Mexicans are going to take care of white people in L.A. that doesn’t exist anywhere else…

You’re telling me no Mexicans are qualified to do anything at a studio? Really? Nothing but mop up? What are the odds that that’s true? The odds are, because people are people, that there’s probably a Mexican David Geffen mopping up for somebody’s company right now. The odds are that there’s probably a Mexican who’s that smart who’s never going to be given a shot. And it’s not about being given a shot to greenlight a movie because nobody is going to give you that — you’ve got to take that. The shot is that a Mexican guy or a black guy is qualified to go and give his opinion about how loud the boings are in Dodgeball or whether it’s the right shit sound you hear when Jeff Daniels is on the toilet in Dumb and Dumber.”

Here I think of my own time in the service industry, and of all the hard workers I’ve met throughout the last year –Mexican and Central-American and Asian and more–from the grocery stores to the Starbucks shops, to the myriad of other shopping areas and restaurants in The City, and of course they are The People of Los Angeles, and of course they are beautiful and magnificent human beings; of course they’ve got all of the world to give in their hearts, but of course it’s this–or the exploitation of all this–which makes up the slave state Rock points out.

There’s a great sense of shame in identifying one’s self as something of a slave. It’s a ‘victim card’, or a sign of weakness in a world hellbent on showing muscle. But if it’s difficult for an individual to admit to being a part of slavery, it’s nearly-unthinkable for society to accept slavery as a fundamental part of what maintains the industries.

Yet whether we’re talking about the janitors or security guards up and down Hollywood’s lots, or the aspiring actors and directors who have yet to enter the business, or even the agents of change across the non-profit world who have set out to transform all of this, every day there’s some silent agreement we all make with the state of things, in which we consent to the sacrifice of our time and our bodies, the interests we hold dear, and even the sense of what’s right…

for what simply is; the status quo, the way things are; reality.

What are we doing as we make these silent agreements, if not perpetuating the complacency that’s maintained the same industries which once rejected Langston Hughes, and which still rejects Black writers and voices today, not to mention fellow Mexican, Asian, and other voices?

I fear we’re not changing anything this way, but it’s a fear I’ve learned to live with. Still, even more than what I fear, I believe in what I hope for:

I am the change I want to see, but only just one part of it, at that.

What’s more, I understand that I can’t focus too much on what it all looks like today; it is bigger than what one set of eyes can see in one moment, and made up of today as much as it’s made up of yesterday.

And when I think of the days ahead, the tomorrows still to come in the faces of our youth, I can’t help but stand up and tackle what’s in front of me: of course the world can be overwhelming, but of course it all begins with our perception.

Today I can feel all that’s ahead, and I choose to run towards it at full force. How do you do?!

With more soon,

J.T.