During this alleged recovery from the 2007-to-2009 Great Recession, economic gains in America have completely bypassed the middle class and below.
In other words, the rich got richer, and the rest of us are still living recession-style. Nowhere is the growing gap between rich and poor greater than in the Golden State. While a recent analysis found that California has the most wealth in America, the new U.S. Census “Supplemental Poverty Measure” also found we have the highest percentage of people living in poverty, with about 1 in 4 of us being, technically, poor.
You should be angry that, during the second-worst economic period in U.S. history, the wealthy were enriching themselves and asking for tax breaks instead of hiring workers and spreading the love. Trickle-down economics be damned.
But there's one small way you can take from the rich and give to yourself: get their candy! It's small consolation. Here are five trick-or-treat neighborhoods where you can be a Robin Hood-Rat. Have at it. We highly encourage it.
5. Beverly Hills. We've spent some time here and, honestly, the people aren't so bad, so tread lightly. The south-of-Wilshire neighborhoods are filled with Persian immigrants who often work hard as mom-and-pop shop entrepreneurs. Some were as hard-hit as the rest of us during the Great Recession. If you're really after some of that 1 percenter candy, though, head north of Wilshire Boulevard, toward the hills. The closer to Mulholland Drive you get, the higher the property value (and the richer the mogul). Unfortunately, parking also gets more difficult as you trek northward, so prepare to hike. Map.
4. Holmby Hills. We actually feel a little sorry for the bluebloods of Holmby Hills, if only because they have to endure living with a nightclub that exists right in the middle of an otherwise quiet residential community. We're speaking, of course, of the Playboy Mansion, which hosts more parties than Avalon. But we're a little bitter that we've never been invited to an event there, at least not to one where we weren't also asked to pay $1,000 or more for a ticket. The least Hef could do is give us some candy. Map.
3. San Marino. We'd normally cheer on a dream-achieving immigrant community like San Marino. But many of the folks who have settled in there are acting just like all the other rich people—unwelcoming. It turns out the Chinese Beverly Hills isn't to amenable to “sketchy” outsiders. So the thing to do here is to dress as cholos and ride your bikes to the community to ask for mad candy, homes. Many San Marino residents will have no idea what you're on about. But that's half the fun. Map.
2. Calabasas. This is where the likes of Justin Bieber and the Kardashian clan have settled down and escaped the urban riff-raff of Los Angeles. Even if Biebs and Kim no longer live there, we generally hate these two people and any community associated with them. Show the neighborhood that you can't get rich off L.A. and escape it at the same time. Bring Los Angeles to Calabasas Halloween night. Fill up your gas tanks and get some of that suburban McMansion candy. Map.
1. Cheviot Hills. We saved our most bitter ire for the most NIMBY of Westside communities, Cheviot Hills. Tucked in north of 10 freeway and south of Century City, this gilded neighborhood is the sometime home of one Pete “Pito” Wilson, former governor, supporter of the anti-immigrant Prop. 187 and (thus) architect of the Republican Party's demise in California. But it's not just his candy you should get. Consider the attitude of former Cheviot Hills Homeowners' Association president Benjamin Cate, who fought tooth-and-nail, along with his fellow residents, against the Expo Line light rail extension south of their community. “The people who are going to use this are the people who work in the hotels in Santa Monica, and they are going to come from the Hispanic areas nearer downtown,” he once reportedly warned.
These NIMBYs scare us. So we encourage you folks who work in hotels in Santa Monica and who come from the “Hispanic” areas near downtown to get on that Expo Line and come to Cheviot Hills. Knock on some doors Friday night. Take your time. Linger. Enjoy yourselves. And get that candy! Map.