Talking Points

LA Confederate monument coming down

A semi-regular bite at the day's news and observations. Follow LA Observed on Twitter between posts.

1. Hollywood Forever to remove statue honoring Confederate soldiers
confed-statue-hwdforever.jpgUnder pressure from Los Angeles area activists, and as revulsion grows across the country at the icons revered by Trump's white power supporters, Hollywood Forever Cemetery said Tuesday it would take down a monument placed on the grounds in 1925 "in memory of the soldiers of the Confederate States Army who have died or may die on the Pacific Coast." The monument is near the graves of about 30 Confederate veterans and their families, but is not a grave marker.

California did not join the states that seceded at the start of the Civil War, but the Los Angeles area did send several hundred traitors to fight for the south. The city has a well- documented deeply racist history, with white arrivals in this part of California waging organized terror at various times against Native Americans, Chinese, Mexicans and blacks from the south. Anti-Semitism was openly practiced here, and the Ku Klux Klan was quite active, including in Orange County well into the 20th century.

The presence of the cemetery monument surfaced in an Aug. 4 op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times by Kevin Waite, a professor of American history at Durham University in the United Kingdom. Since then, activists have put pressure on Hollywood Forever to remove the monument from sight, and the cemetery says it has been working with the monument's owner to place it in storage.

2. Attacking Jews in Charlottesville
If you didn't see it, President Trump on Tuesday went out of his way to give new, absolutely unnecessary verbal support to the racist pigs and Nazis who rioted in Charlottesville — undoing everything he had been told to say to sorta rebuke them (wink, wink) the day before. One of his assertions today, along with a return to his weekend stance that there was "blame on both sides," is that he saw some of the UVA campus protest on Friday night and thought there were some good people protesting. Well, here are those racists on campus chanting "Jews will not replace us!" in a documentary from Vice, which was out among them.

Fox News pundits, Breitbart and the talk radio shouters spent the evening shining the president's belt buckle, as directed by the immediately leaked White House talking points. But just about everywhere else — including from Republican officials and conservative commentators — there was outrage, sadness and, finally, a realization that the United States (and thus the world) has a big, big, big problem occupying the White House. Trump "gave the alt-right its greatest national media moment ever," said the National Review's David French.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama's tweet in response to the Charlottesville violence became the most liked post ever on Twitter.

3. Zócalo Public Square relocates to Little Tokyo
In the 14 years since Gregory Rodriguez started his popular Los Angeles forum, Zócalo has presented 549 events, featuring 2,188 speakers, in 23 cities, 7 states, and 6 countries — and published some good journalism. For the first time, Zócalo will now have a permanent home for events and offices. The forums are moving to the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. The building on 1st Street was built in 1925 and was apparently the first structure in Los Angeles built for use as a Buddhist house of worship. While Zocalo will continue to hold free events around the city, most will now be held at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy.

They have been there before — I moderated the first Zocalo event to be held at the center, a conversation with then-Los Angeles Times editor Dean Baquet. That was in 2005, and Baquet talked then about LA's "dramatic" homeless problem and unloosing columnist Steve Lopez to write columns about the issue. He also touched on the paper's profitability, need to become more relevant, and Internet future. Watch on C-Span.

4. USC Village opens this week
In the New York Times: "The $700 million USC Village is a sprawling addition to the university, extending across 15 acres as part of the school’s efforts to expand the availability of student housing and increase the amount of academic space it has.... The project’s scale is enormous, adding a total of three million square feet of student housing, retail, academic and green space. When it opens, it will effectively have added a neighborhood’s worth of stores, including 15 restaurants, a pharmacy, a Trader Joe’s grocery store and a Target. There will be more than 250 trees, nearly 500 underground parking spaces and about 1,500 bike racks."

Here's the whole thing. And a USC aerial video.

5. Transitions
Naomi Seligman, since 2015 the director of communications for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, is stepping down, according to LA Times City Hall reporter Dakota Smith. "I will miss working with this outstanding team, but I am proud of all that we have accomplished during my time at City Hall," Seligman says in a follow-up tweet from Smith. Seligman lives in Santa Monica and recently took a seat on that city's library board.

Peter H. King has quietly left the Los Angeles Times California reporting staff, where he returned in 2015 after a six-year stint working in communications for the University of California president in Oakland. "After working for many great editors in my 40 years, I've settled happily on a new boss--me!" he says on LinkedIn.

Jessica Levinson was reelected to a second term as president of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. The Loyola Law School professor was appointed to the commission by Controller Ron Galperin.

And a tweet

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