By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
By Dennis Romero
And sometimes not. As U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra said while 227 triumphed, "We're losing battles. But Mexican-Americans are prepared to fight a long war - that's a war of votes - for their rights."
It took a recent front-page Times article to recall how little the so-called bilingual-education initiative had to do with bilingual ability. Bilingual education, the article noted, happens when they learn our language and we theirs. As in, for instance, Miami, which the Cuban-American community has made a two-tongued haven. And, incidentally, the national center for trade and cultural exchange with all of Latin America.
Rather the opposite of the reputation this city and state have gained for themselves following the triumph of one anti-Hispanic initiative after another, right? I guess when next I head for Mexico City, I better resign myself to catching up on all that Dade County news. You might say it's earned its way there.
So Long SamBy now, those who knew him for better or worse have tossed their respective bouquets and clods on the grave of the onetime hat salesman who helmed L.A. into both its big-city status and the Watts Riots.
Certainly, he never played hard to get. I interviewed Sam Yorty myself seven years ago at an upscale hillside home that could have been a Bret Easton Ellis novel's party venue after a good cleanup. I most remember Yorty's unfailing quiet courtesy and one celebrity photo among many on his wall that best showed where he'd halted in history. It pictured a band featuring Yorty (was he on drums?) and an incredibly young and sexy Phyllis Diller playing C-melody sax.
For all the occasional scurrilousness of his mayoralty, Yorty was probably at his lifetime worst as a 1950s legislative red-baiter. Indeed, the files of his Sacramento committee were reportedly so libelous that they remain closed. I asked Sam about this, and he allowed he'd maybe gone a bit overboard. But, he confessed, this was due to a major trauma in his own life. He told me quite seriously that in the 1930s a prominent, unnamed communist had tried to recruit him.
The approach, Yorty said, had been made in a Main Street Mexican restaurant. The operative allegedly promised the legislator a key role in the Revolution. Yorty said he turned him down.
Now I wonder. Had Yorty really sought to subvert this city, what with the legacies of Watts, plus his 1960 recycling ban that's filled our canyons with refuse, could he have done a better job?
Council Axes Cat TaxesIt wouldn't be exaggerating much to say the City Council approved Dick Riordan's 1998-99 budget last month in almost every detail but the notorious proposed cat license. Indeed, more ordinary citizens may have showed up to protest the feline impost than on the entire rest of the budget.
So much for that $250,000 line item. You'd think Riordan could have foreseen this was a non-starter. But maybe he dozed through those long-ago Princeton ROTC classes where they taught you to attack the weak enemy before provoking the strong one. Or perhaps the mayor just never guessed the power of the cat lobby.