Skip to main content

In 1992, I was working in Los Angeles, with a very diverse group of people. There was widespread belief that LA would explode if the cops who beat Rodney King weren't convicted.

Still, I was amazed to look down from Dodger Stadium at night and see the City of Angels burning.

As California's budget mess continues to worsen, and we seem headed inexorably towards depression levels of unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and hunger, I've been recalling the summer of 1992 when Los Angeles erupted into a multi-racial redistribution of wealth.

Have the Republicans really thought through the potential results of eliminating the minimal payments to 127,000 low income parents and children in San Bernardino County when the unemployment rate is already above 13%?

Or the anger among the friends and families of the 420,000 low income parents and children in Los Angeles County who receive minimal payments, education, and assistance with child care?

On a hot night in September, with the Santa Ana winds blowing, and a simmering pool of rage, it will only take a spark.

Hyperbole? God I hope so, but now I think that the Inland Empire might have more tinder even than Los Angeles.

There's a simmering rage out there now, with a deep undercurrent of economic populism. The white, anti-immigrant voice of that rage is reported through the media but there's an even more palpable anger among those who have been demonized as they were being victimized.

Now, the WORST GOVERNATOR EVER and his handlers are proposing massive cuts not only to education, but also the complete elimination of the Welfare to Work program in California, to deny minimal welfare benefits to 1.1 million children and 310,000 parents.

When the Governator declares war on the poor, can he really expect that they will never rise up in anger?

When the Santa Ana Winds blow this fall, with no jobs, no food, and the social safety net eliminated, what will happen?

Those hot dry winds that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen.

—Raymond Chandler, "Red Wind"

Los Angeles weather is the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse, and, just as the reliably long and bitter winters of New England determine the way life is lived there, so the violence and the unpredictability of the Santa Ana affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability. The wind shows us how close to the edge we are. "

—Joan Didion, "Los Angeles Notebook"

The township itself was twenty miles (32 km) west of the Santa Ana Mountains, where the infamous winds came from. Time to time they blew in, dry, warm, steady, and they sent the whole of LA crazy. Reacher had seen their effects a couple of times. Once he had been in town after liaising with the jarheads at Camp Pendleton. Once he had been on a weekend pass from Fort Irwin. He had seen minor barroom brawls end up as first-degree homicides. He had seen burnt toast end up in wife-beating and prison and divorce. He had seen a guy get bludgeoned to the ground for walking too slow on the sidewalk.

—Lee Child, "Bad Luck and Trouble"

Originally posted to Aeolus on Fri Jun 26, 2009 at 10:21 AM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site