Thursday, 5 July 2018

The New York Times/Tim Arango and Matt Stevens: California Today: Where Extreme Wealth and poverty Collide

Th e New York Times

California Today
California Today: When Extreme Wealth and Poverty Collide
Rigo Veloso, 47, a painter who was formerly homeless, poses for a portrait outside of his studio, which he and the landowner built together.CreditPhilip Cheung for The New York Times

By Tim Arango and Matt Stevens

    July 5, 2018

Good morning.

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After a trip across the United States that included a stop at Skid Row in Los Angeles, a United Nations official remarked that “contrasts between private wealth and public squalor abound.” Another U.N. official said after a visit, “You almost forget you are in Los Angeles.” The L.A. Times has called the explosion of homelessness in Los Angeles in recent years “a national disgrace,” and Mayor Eric Garcetti has said the issue is “the moral crisis of our time.”

To give readers a visual understanding of what that looks like across the city, as extreme wealth and poverty collide in public spaces, including libraries, parks and beaches, we went on a tour across the county, and published this piece.

In an age of growing economic inequality, the well-off have been able to seclude themselves away from the impoverished. But that has changed over the years in Los Angeles, as the growth in the homeless population has forced the rich and poor to interact more often.

Rigo Veloso, who had been homeless in Malibu before moving into an apartment on a resident’s ranch, said that many people he encountered while living on the streets were friendly and compassionate, but many others, he said, “would judge you, and not treat you like a human being.”


“It takes your dignity away,” he said. “I’ve been called a maggot.”

Indeed, as local authorities grapple with how to spend millions of dollars on housing and other services for the homeless, community leaders are also trying to address the issue at the most basic human level, urging residents to say hello and make eye contact with those living on the streets.

“If you talk to most homeless people they will say one of the hardest things is they felt invisible,” said John Maceri, executive director of The People Concern, a social services agency that helps homeless people. “It is dehumanizing. You don’t have to give money to say hello to people, to acknowledge them.”

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He added, “Acknowledging people with a gesture, a hello, goes a long way.”

To break down barriers, Pacific Palisades, an affluent neighborhood on Los Angeles’s Westside, has brought homeless people to community meetings to share their stories with residents. The result has been more empathy in the community, organizers say, and a greater willingness to help the homeless, rather than demonize them.
California Online
Hot Shot crews from Mendocino use backfires to help contain the County Fire.CreditRandall Benton/The Sacramento Bee, via Associated Press

(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)


• The County Fire has nearly tripled in size over the past several days, scorching more than 86,000 acres in Yolo and Napa Counties. It threatens about 1,500 structures, including hundreds of homes. [The San Francisco Chronicle]

• Fireworks have become a wildfire liability in states like California. So some places have found a July 4 alternative: Drones. [The New York Times]

• The Trump administration says it is abandoning Obama-era policies that called on universities to consider race as a factor in diversifying their campuses. [The New York Times]
A memorial was created outside the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland.CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times

• Two men associated with the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland have pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter and will each face several years in prison. [The New York Times]

• Where does Gavin Newsom stand on the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency? “Reform” but perhaps not “abolish.” [The San Francisco Chronicle]


• A viral video of Los Angeles police officers training their firearms on an unarmed woman drew fierce criticism. But now the authorities have clarified that the footage was of an arrest — and that the woman involved had been part of a violent kidnapping plot. [The Los Angeles Times]
Mayor Eric M. Garcetti of Los Angeles. City officials are divided over whether to accept funds from the Trump administration intended to deter terrorist recruitment.CreditEmily Berl for The New York Times

• Los Angeles officials got a $425,000 grant from the Trump administration to deter terrorist recruitment. But should lawmakers accept it? Critics worry that it could lead to the targeting of Muslims. [KPCC]

• The family of a Chowchilla man who said he died of a cardiac arrest after treatment at a DaVita dialysis clinic has been awarded $127 million in damages. [The Fresno Bee]

• California lawmakers once again want to set a goal of generating 100 percent of the state’s energy from carbon-free sources. [The Associated Press]
People wait in line in front of a Google booth.CreditAleksandar Plavevski/EPA, via Shutterstock

• Google lets hundreds of software developers scan the inboxes of Gmail users who signed up for email-based services. Google also does little to police them. [The Wall Street Journal]

• Could driverless cars increase traffic in downtown areas? A new study suggests that they might, arguing that people will embrace ride-hailing services and abandon public transit. [The Washington Post]


• Willie Brown Middle School was the most expensive new public school in San Francisco history. It promised the world. Then it opened. [WIRED]

• Nancy Frausto is associate rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Long Beach. And she is also a Dreamer. [laist]

• Hyperion, a roughly 600-year-old coast redwood, is the tallest tree on earth. But the National Park Service doesn’t want anyone to know where it is. [The San Francisco Chronicle]
Dancers performing “PowerShift” as the TL Collective at the L.A. Dance Project headquarters.CreditPaul Antico

• Dance in Los Angeles has historically struggled for visibility and viability. But major dance personalities have moved to the city over the last few years, and more are on their way. [The New York Times]

• Forget the Lakers and LeBron James. Have the Warriors — with all their all-stars — broken the N.B.A.? [The Wall Street Journal]
And Finally ...
The band Simple Plan on stage in June at the Vans Warped Tour in San Diego.CreditAdam Amengual for The New York Times


Has it really been 23 years?

Yes, our story says it, so it must be true: The Vans Warped Tour is coming to an end. And if you were a young Californian at any point since the mid-1990s, then the punk rock music festival most likely touched your life in some way.

Perhaps you went to the Warped Tour itself; perhaps you remember Blink-182’s reference to it in “The Rock Show”; or perhaps you just had a Vans phase.

As our article points out: “The final tour not only marks the end of an era in music, but of a particularly intimate brand collaboration. Vans has sponsored the Warped Tour since its second year and credits the festival with burnishing its countercultural image.”

The shoe company can itself be traced back to the Van Doren Rubber Company in Anaheim. And by the 1990s it was synonymous with Southern California skateboard culture even before the Warped Tour started. But the tour’s national popularity pushed the brand forward and ballooned its sales.

Indeed, summer — as Blink-182 has enshrined in our memory — is inexorably linked to the Warped Tour, but so too are those low-top sneakers with their sticky soles.

California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see:

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.


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