Leave it to L.A. leaders to make a half-assed offer to Occupy L.A. in an attempt to extract demonstrators from the City Hall lawn. The city said occupiers could take over the old old B. Dalton Bookstore space in the nearby, subterranean L.A. Mall if they gave the lawn a permanent break. Occupiers pretty much gave the city the finger in response.
Now Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the LAPD have told Occupy L.A. that it's time to take a hike (and cops in riot gear have been on standby). But the demonstrators remain (some camped in treetops, no less).
What will it take to get Occupy L.A. to move? You know we have a Top 5 list for this:
Free weed. That's right, we said it. L.A. city Councilman Jose Huizar is proposing that all medical marijuana dispensaries in the city be outlawed and closed. He's been a medical pot supporter, but Huizar says a recent California court ruling is basically tying the hands of cities like Los Angeles, which wouldn't be able to regulate collectives the way they want to (the ruling is being appealed). So what's going to happen to all that fine, retail-grade bud should our fine city's storefront herbal scene dry up? Seize it and give it to the occupiers! An ounce each handed to them as they step off the lawn: Just witness how fast those tents come down. (Silly, we know, but it gets better … ).
Give them a paid day working for the city. But not just any job. The city would have to promise occupiers one of those super-cushy city gigs like the one held by the $76,000-a-year cement-pouring supervisor who was alleged to have been drinking on the job. Or a position as one of the Department of Water and Power linemen found to have been allegedly downing brews, hanging out in a park, and going to a strip club during work hours. Them's 99 percenter jobs worth fighting for.
Give them a parking lot. A $52 million parking lot. Lest we forget, the L.A. City Council, while proclaiming allegiance to the 99 percent, actually seems to put its money where it's mouth isn't. Like when it vowed this year to funnel $52 million in taxpayer-controlled dollars to billionaire Eli Broad so he could build … a parking lot. Yeah, a parking lot. It will be attached to his soon-to-come art museum and nonprofit office space. Broad's art collection could be the centerpiece of a Grand Avenue revival and, yeah, is screams “redevelopment.” And after Broad signed off on a proposed California initiative to raise taxes for schools, we're not convinced he's such a selfish bastard. But $52 million? That could feed a lot of occupiers.
A new car! That's right, if it really wanted to the L.A. City Council could nearly go Oprah on Occupy. That's because each of the 15 City Council offices has access to eight — count 'em, eight — taxpayer-funded cars (with free gas to boot). If each council person gave up seven of those vehicles (add them up, carry the one), the city could give away 105 cars. While that's not enough for each occupier (there were more than 400 tents at one point), a raffle with a one in five or so chance of getting a ride might be enough to get the demonstrators to drive away happy. And just think, the vehicles could double as living quarters. At least in Venice.
A free house! Given that the city pledged $62 million in tax breaks and $70 million in loans for the folks behind Staples Center to build the Ritz-Carlton Hotel & Residences and JW Marriott at L.A. Live next door, we think it would be fair of City Hall to step in and give some of those taxpayer-subsidized homes-for-the-1-percenters to the occupiers. After all, the Ritz-Carlton Residences at LA Live don't seem to be selling to well, with more than 175 of more than 224 units still available at last count. Let some lucky, randomly chosen occupiers trade tents and dirt for “breathtaking views, world class amenities and legendary Ritz-Carlton services.” Yeah? (Yeah right).