Where Should L.A. March?

Interesting discussion taking place over at blogdowntown today. Eric Richardson takes exception with a march held yesterday in Downtown Los Angeles. This, in addition to the growing complaints of film shoots, strikes around film shoots, street closures, and new construction in and around the city center.

Eric’s beef is not so much that it was a march of undocumented students who believe they should be entitled to financial aid. It’s that the march was Downtown.

It’s long been my contention that the marches we so often see through Downtown typically do far more harm than good for whatever cause they intend to support. You don’t make a lot of friends by messing up people’s days.


The guys at blogdowntown do a bang-up job on documenting life in DTLA. I read them every day. This isn’t an isolated case. There is chatter on other sites. People who have moved Downtown for that vibrant urbanism that was promised on the shiny brochure and Flash-enabled web advert. They want Downtown to be the center of L.A. They want it to be hip and cool with a 24-hour grocery store, rooftop pools, and a martini bar on every corner. They want it to be the center of attention.

But, they don’t want the hassles that come with living in a true city center. Not in my backyard, they say.

Events of significance should take place in the heart of any great city. They do, on streets called Broadway and Main. They always have. They always will.


Photo of Armistice Day Parade on Broadway, Downtown Los Angeles, 1937
From the Los Angeles Public Library

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13 Replies to “Where Should L.A. March?”

  1. Downtown LA is our government hub and were such marches should happen. You should have known that before you moved in. To complain now is like someone moving to Hollywood and complaining about closing of the streets for movie premiers. Jason- great photo.

  2. Downtown LA is our government hub and were such marches should happen. You should have known that before you moved in. To complain now is like someone moving to Hollywood and complaining about closing of the streets for movie premiers. Jason- great photo.

  3. I remember Fred Camino (of MetroRiderLA blog)once saying how many new Downtown residents are bringing a suburban mentality to the area (he said this in the context of low transit use among these residents). Getting up in arms over protests, strikes, film shoots, etc, seems to be another example of this. Urban centres are vibrant, bustling, noisy. These are the things I’d think you would have to deal with, as long as it didn’t get too excessive. Besides, shouldn’t there be more pedestrian activity in Downtown and the rest of this city? What’s a little traffic disruption? Having said that, I will echo what a commenter in the blogdowntown entry said about feeling for bus commuters.

  4. I’m a little surprised at Eric’s rather trite summation of protest marches. Mass activism by design is intrinsically about making an impact, not friends.

  5. Any time more than 100 people gather anywhere in LA, it’s called a riot and the cops swoop in. You don’t want to mess up anyone’s day, you know.

  6. it is easy to get cynical about these marches when they happen frequently, are poorly-attended, but still shut down many blocks. there’s a big difference between la gran marcha, with tens of thousands of people, and the more recent protests, which are lucky if they get a thousand.

    and as brady westwater likes to point out, it is often the least privileged and abled that are impacted the most, as mta, ladot, and the other transit agencies have to route around the street closures so people can march down broadway (a major bus route) again.

  7. “But…but…but…the real estate agent told me that downtown would be all classy and stuff! He showed me pictures of white people with expensive sunglasses sitting at outdoor cafes! Where did all these loud poor people come from?”

  8. “Really? There are people who go to the polls to vote and base their choices on who inconvenienced them the least? Give me a break.” Thunderboltfan

    Exactly.

    I found that post by Eric a little bit of bs. I personally feel if you don’t remember Al’s Bar you should keep your opinion on downtown protests, homeless and other eccentricities that make it so very interesting to yourself or move back to the suburban hell that you came from (or hell at least move to Culver City,) where people vote Republican and complain about how various shades of brown people cause them grief by daring to be in “our” country and wanting to be treated like human beings.

    Browne

  9. The point of having marches downtown is to cause a disruption and to be noticed by those in power, either in business or government. Suggesting that marches occur in areas where they’re not disruptive is akin to suggesting that they occur in the closet, or out of the public sphere. Marches, either celebratory or protest in nature, are inherently events which should take place at the center stage of the city.

  10. I made the off-hand comment last night that part of the reason I moved to downtown was that I was tired of driving from the Westside to downtown for my protests. Now when there’s a protest, I buy my flowers in the morning at the Market, and head on up to Olympic Boulevard.

    And, besides – what a great way for people to get to know downtown. Walk down the middle of Broadway and see a bunch of lofts, check out where the bus stops are located, and see how pedestrian friendly downtown can really be!

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