No More War

Unbelievable as it may seem, there are folks in Washington who seem to be gearing up for another war. The current administration has been doing everything it can to put the screws on Iran, and now it looks like they’re taking it to the next level. Have they already forgotten about about the lives lost during the invasion and occupation of Iraq? Have they forgotten that we’re still fighting a war in Afghnistan, which has become the longest war in US history?

Today protesters gathered in Pershing Square to show their opposition to another war. Speakers railed against the idea of the US embarking on yet another bloody conflict. One speaker asked why it is that Washington can always come up with money to fund wars, but somehow there isn’t enough money to house the people living on the streets. I’ve heard that question asked many times over the years, and I’m still waiting for an answer.

Protest to Save the Planet

MS 01 Crowd 3

The vast majority of climate scientists agree that climate change is a threat and that it’s caused by human activity. But the White House is determined to ignore that threat, and has taken steps to back away from agreements the US has signed to reduce global warming. On top of that, the new administration has proposed to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by almost a third, and roll back regulations designed to protect our air and water.

But scientists are fighting back. Last Saturday was Earth Day, and to push back against Washington’s assault on the environment a broad coalition of academics and activists organized the March for Science. All across the country Americans gathered in cities big and small to speak out in favor of protecting the planet.

When I got off the subway at Fifth and Hill the streets were already packed.

MS 10 Crowd 5th Hill

The street was jammed when I arrived.

MS 11 Release

Glad to know it was okay to take photos.

MS 13 Misc Kitty

Even Hello Kitty fans turned out to protest.

MS 14 Crowd Flowers

The sidewalks were so crowded it wasn’t always easy to get around.

I could hear people speaking over a PA in Pershing Square, so I headed over there. The crowd was so thick I couldn’t get near the stage, so I wandered around and snapped a few photos.

MS 20 Crowd Orange

I couldn’t get near the stage in Pershing Square…

MS 21 Crowd Darkness

…so I made my way through the throng…

MS 22 Crowd Vert

…to another part of the plaza…

MS 25 Misc Santas

…where I ran into Santa Claus.

Here are a few signs that jumped out at me.

MS 30 Sign Gel

My favorite sign of the day.

MS 32 Sign Beer

The scariest sign of the day.

MS 34 Sign Sign

The most honest sign of the day.

Finally the march got started. A huge crowd headed up Hill Street and then over to City Hall.

MS 40 March Crswlk Truck

The crowd getting ready to march.

MS 42 March Hill North 2

Protesters made their way up Hill Street.

MS 44 March Blue Ts

Another shot of the march.

MS 46 March She Blinded

And yet another shot of the march.

Earth Day is over, but the fight is just starting. We need to speak out loudly against policies that put profit ahead of the planet. To learn how you can get involved, visit the March for Science web site.

March for Science

MS 70 Crowd St V

Legalize Sleep


Demonstrators on the steps at Pershing Square.

There were a number of actions planned for this weekend to coincide with Martin Luther King’s birthday. I had heard that Black Lives Matter was holding a vigil downtown, and so I hopped on the Red Line and got off at Civic Center. But it turned out the vigil was over, and so I was standing there on First Street wondering what to do next. ¬†Fortunately, I ended up running into a group of people who were demonstrating to protect the rights of the homeless. They were marching through downtown on their way to Pershing Square. I met up with them when they made a stop on Fifth Street.


The group stops to hear a speaker on Fifth Street.

One of the major points the speakers made is that our government is trying to control and restrict the use of public space. This affects the homeless in that they aren’t allowed to sleep in parks or on sidewalks, but really it affects all of us. Public space is an essential part of civic life. Our elected officials are putting more and more restrictions on the way public space is used, often for the benefit of business interests. The whole idea of public space is that it’s for everyone, not just those that our elected officials deem worthy.

The reason that homeless people end up sleeping in parks is they have nowhere else to go. The Mayor and the City Council are bending over backwards to help developers build luxury residential towers, while affordable housing gets harder and harder to find. Affordable units are being demolished or converted to condos so that property owners can make an even bigger profit. This will only increase the number of people living on the streets.


Protesters walking through Pershing Square.

So you’ve been kicked out of your apartment because the landlord hit you with a huge rent increase. You can’t sleep on the sidewalk. You can’t sleep on bus benches. And you can’t sleep in the parks. Where do you go? Our elected officials don’t seem to care. They’re too busy granting variances for the developers who’ve been giving them campaign cash.

The affordable housing crisis in LA is getting worse. We need to address it. Instead of racing to build high-end residential skyscrapers, we need to be creating housing for all the people of Los Angeles. Everybody deserves a safe place to sleep.


My favorite slogan from the demonstration.