I'm back to the blog after several days absence…I had a visitor from California and no time to blog. Checking the news as I return to my PC, it looks like the long arm of the LA police has finally caught up with the local farmers at South Central Farm in Los Angeles.
I've blogged about these urban community farmers before, in case you aren't familiar with the saga. The farmers have been trying to raise enough money ($16 million) to buy the land from the
greedy pig developer Ralph Horowitz who wants to replace the farm with a warehouse. (Note: in the original post, I wrote he was selling it to Wal-Mart, who I had heard was going to build a distribution center on it. I read that a few months ago in older stories. But, I can't confirm that is still the case–the current new stories say he is just going to put a warehouse there–I don't know who is going to be in the warehouse. So I removed that from the post. The last thing I need is for Wal-Mart to sue me.) Yesterday, according to Reuters:
Police wearing riot gear moved into an urban Los Angeles community garden on Tuesday to evict tree-sitting celebrity Darryl Hannah, along with other campaigners trying to save it from destruction.
At least 25 immigrant farmers and their supporters were arrested on trespass charges, police said, but Hannah, an actress best known for playing a mermaid in "Splash," remained perched 40 feet up a walnut tree in the 14-acre (5.7-hectare) fruit and vegetable garden in gritty south Los Angeles.
Horowitz served eviction papers and then the cops came in and arrested the protestors who had been living at the farm. Besides Daryl Hannah, other celebrity protestors included Julia Butterfly Hill and Willie Nelson, but they weren't at the farm at the time of the raid. The end of the Reuters story:
Bulldozers were brought in and a fire ladder was raised to the tree tops where Hannah and three other people were thought to be holding out.
I expect as much from the developer–by nature they are greedy–but I'm really disappointed that the city couldn't find money to help the farmers, who raised more than half of the money that the developer was asking. Seems like the city could have pitched in the other half….it's probably a drop in the bucket of the city's development budget.
So sad that a peaceful and equitable solution couldn't be found.
Photo courtesy of South Central Farm