Occupy the Valley!

THE DWINDLING OF THE DEMOCRATIC base in Tuesday’s election had a lamentable effect on two local ballot measures. In Santa Monica, the beachfront hotels managed to defeat a living-wage ordinance that would have applied to the low-income workers of large employers in the city’s coastal zone. After waging a multimillion-dollar campaign prophesying pestilence and famine should the measure pass, the hotels prevailed by a 51 percent to 49 percent margin. On Election Day, they also offered their workers $26 an hour to walk precincts against the ordinance — suggesting that if only such an election were held every day, Santa Monica’s poverty-wage hotel workers could attain a middle-class lifestyle.

In Los Angeles, Valley secession failed by just over a 2-1 margin, but narrowly carried, again by 51 percent to 49 percent, in the Valley itself. The city now faces the dilemma of how best to live with a core of defeated yet unreconciled secessionists. The only other time in U.S. history when a government confronted such a dilemma, of course, was in the years following the Civil War — and the policy the North adopted then seems the most prudent and equitable course for Los Angeles today. Accordingly, the Weekly favors a reconstruction policy of armed occupation for the Valley. Troops would enforce voting rights for illegal immigrant day laborers and gardeners, while secessionist leaders would be allowed to vote in future city elections provided they take loyalty oaths pledging never to attempt again to secede. The occupation would end when the ratio of secession stories to all other stories in the Daily News falls beneath 3-to-1.


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