Is this worldly town -- America's gateway to Asia, the second-largest media market in America, the Latino capital of the United States -- really owned and controlled by outsiders?
It's a question posed by local expert and author D.J. Waldie at Zocalo Public Square (via LA Observed).
Consider all of the major institutions in town with outsider roots:
-The Dodgers, owned (for now) by Bostonian Frank McCourt.
-Los Angeles Times owner Tribune Co. and its Chicago-based honcho Sam Zell.
-Downtown real estate reshaper Anschutz Entertainment Group (of Staples Center and LA Live fame), which is essentially owned by Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz.
-Outsider-owned film studios, from Fox (New York) to Sony (Japan).
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-Heck, even some of our most-famed Mexican restaurants (Red O, by Chicago's Rick Bayless; Loteria, by Mexico City native Jimmy Shaw) are non-native.
Waldie notes that even our police and transportation institutions have, at times, been run under the watchful eye of outsiders in Washington, D.C.
Grudging compliance to special masters and appointed monitors may be the best we have to give in a city fragmented by institutional barriers and so distracted from civic concerns. Few of us want to see Los Angeles as it is or what it should be; we've let others do it for us. This city's unaccountable political structure, its conception of power merely as the means to another deal, and the city's air of disconnected neutrality have let thugs police its streets, unfeeling technocrats run its services, and the McCourts loot its most-loved institution. And when those faults became intolerable, others - not us - imposed their solutions. We've come to expect this - and worse - from Los Angeles and ourselves. "Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown." might as well be the motto on the city seal.