Explaining Southern California's economy

Why is Occupy LA so much more calm — and successful — than other Occupy movements?

Corey Moore/KPCC

Hundreds of Occupy protesters gathered downtown LA for a march through the financial district

The news broke earlier today that Occupy LA has been offered a pretty sweet deal by the city to clear its tents from the lawn around City Hall. In return, the two-month-old protest movement — which has been for the most part a model of peaceful agitation — will get 10,000 feet of nearby office space.

For $1!

Oh, and the city is evidently throwing in some farmland.

Yes, farmland.

For Occupy LA protesters who might, you know, want to work the land.

This is a remarkable development, for three reasons:

  • Occupy LA, unlike its far more belligerent cousins in the Bay Area, is beginning to shift into something of an entrepreneurial mode. It trades tents, dead grass, and cold nights for...office space! Occupy LA, in short, is starting to organize itself like a business, or at least a more conventional political movement, with the eminently practical goal of moving its operations indoors.
  • Occupy is also proving that the ostensibly leaderless movement can throw up some quasi-leaders. Members of Occupy LA have clearly been negotiating with the city, and while this is ticking off the movement's hardcore elements, it's a welcome evolution.
  • The farming thing is strange, but also consistent with the ethos of earlier protest movements — such as those that emerged in the 1960s — which often had a communal, agrarian component. 

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Supercommittee Fail: You didn't seen this coming?

So, you might have heard by now that the Congressional "Supercommittee," a bipartisan effort to overcome partisan gridlock, has succumbed to...partisan gridlock.

This is from USA Today:

Republicans refused to cross their ideological line against increasing taxes. Democrats refused to allow cuts in popular programs that serve the elderly and poor without a compensating growth of government income, especially from the wealthiest Americans.

No one really knew what the Supercommittee was doing, anyway, so the sham of its negotiations — which looked as if they would have high sham potential from the git-go — ended in #EPICFAIL shouldn't shock anyone. But the USA Today report is admirable for starkly stating the core difference between the two sides. 

That said, it's easy to cast the Democrats as pro-tax, in the interest of being pro-poor and pro-old folks, while saying that the Republicans wouldn't raise taxes if the future of the, um...republic depended on it.

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The Tea Party is a political movement; Occupy is about protest

AP Photo/The Enterprise, Wayne Tilcock

In this Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, photo University of California, Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray to move Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school's quad Friday in Davis, Calif. Two University of California, Davis police officers involved in pepper spraying seated protesters were placed on administrative leave Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011, as the chancellor of the school accelerates the investigation into the incident.

Just a quick comment on this segment from this morning's Airtalk broadcast. The issue is whether the Tea Party is getting media treatment equal to the Occupy Movement. 

I'd have to say probably not. But then again, this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. The Tea Party is a political movement: it's an evolution of the Republican Party's libertarian element, which has been a factor, albeit a minor one, for decades. Occupy is a protest movement: it's not running anyone for office but rather complaining about the way the U.S. has allowed equality to stagnate under pressure from a global financial system run amok.

Both groups are angry about the current state of affairs. But their plans of action, strategies, and execution are different in trajectory. The Tea Party wanted to elect candidates and enter the mainstream political conversation. Occupy aimed to...take up space and provide a physical representation of what was really a fairly inchoate sense that something has gone horribly wrong with the nation. 

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New Porsche 911: Still no substitute

A few final hits from the the 2011 La Auto Show, which runs through the Thanksgiving weekend. In this video, the mighty 911, now available in a new version for 2012. 

The 911 is the sports car by which all other sports cars are judged. Sort of the Platonic form of the sports car. Great handling. Fast. Beautifully made. The kind of car that, in theory, can seamlessly transition from a freeway cruise to a brisk turn on the racetrack, in the span of nothing more than an offramp.

In other words, there's still no substitute.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter.

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