‘The Killings On Turk Street/Rent’

by on November 29, 2005

Dear Editor,

Last night at a community meeting, an aide to Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, addressed some members of the Western Addition about the recent killings on Turk Street. In attendance, was former Supervisor and pastor of the Third Baptist Church, Rev. Amos Brown. Mirkarimi’s aide spoke of more meetings with residents, focus groups, etc. To this end, many of the locals, led by Rev. Brown, insisted that this is not enough, that we’ve seen and done it all before, and reached the same conclusion: It doesn’t work. To many, it seemed the blame was being put on the Mayor’s office for the lack of any meaningful response.

Rev. Brown opined that it is Mayor Newsom, who ultimately has the power to make things happen, and agreed the Supervisors have limited authority to implement the kind of action needed. Brown also implied that Police Chief Heather Fong, needed to get her troops to do what they are supposed to do, walk the beat, be more visible, yet the police do not, or will not do it. Their unspoken code, and the atmosphere of fear, cronyism, their hope that this will “die down and eventually, they will kill each other off” attitude, and contempt for the residents still prevails.

If the Mayor fired Fong, he would risk the votes of his Asian constituents for the next election. Unless pressure is brought to bear, on the Mayor and the Police Commission, nothing will happen, and this sad scenario will repeat itself again and again. Supervisor Mirkarimi cannot do this alone, and the community, as well as our city government must take responsibility and action. We must recognize, that in addition to this civic involvement, we must as a society, eliminate this culture of hopelessness among the black community, by creating real jobs, help for families, positive, meaningful programs, and a sense that the people of any community really matter.

Brown suggested that a large contingent of concerned members of the community make their voice heard before the Police Commission. One hundred people at a hearing could make a real difference, and let the Police and the Mayor know that this cannot continue. I believe there is a meeting about this on December 18th. I would implore all concerned to attend en masse, and Supervisor Mirkarimi to continue to do what he can to get this kind of message out. Sadly, I fear it will take the murder of someone white and affluent in the neighborhood, before the people of District 5 get the kind of action needed.

I hope I am wrong, because we can’t afford to wait any longer.

E. “Doc” Smith
Western Addition

Dear Editor:

We Angelenos had two things over which to fold our arms across our chests and harumph indignantly: Ahnold’s “Special” Election and the (yes, lord!) takeover of the Village Voice by NewTimes. Scott Foundas used to be the only reviewer worth reading in the LA Weakly, oops, I mean Weekly; after he bashed out a 10th-rate waste of space on Harry Potter IV ADMITTING he’s never read Word One of any of the books (an easier read does not exist), I had zero use for him. I saw “Rent” on Thursday, charitably predisposed but ultimately delighted (the vocal ensemble music is such a good example of why I love vocal ensemble music!), despite whoever was supposed to translate from stage-to-screen not doing it very well (failed to exploit the film medium, I thought). When I finally got around to picking up a Weekly, I could tell from the contents blurb that Foundas was going to trash it . . . since I know that soon Good Ol’ NewTimes influence will again be felt, I didn’t bother with him.

Then I got to work and noticed your review at BeyondChron. I knew the Social Justice value of “Rent” when I saw it and I trust your review will get more play than Scott’s. I know he’s not losing any sleep over it but thanks for publishing what should be obvious to writers of his ilk.

Stay strong.

Frances Goff

PS The only thing I like better is a Socially Conscious dance movie!

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