Victimized Venice Developer Lobbyist Sues State for not forcing the public to park in his boss's lots
Here's a response I wrote back in 1997:
Let Them Eat Bricks
By Rex Frankel
Hello, and welcome to another edition of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Fascist". I'm Robbing Leech, your guide.
Today we visit the famous Conformity Beach, in Veniceland, California. Road crews are out today on the beach, replacing loose designer bricks on the Platinum Pathway, formerly Ocean Front Walk. We're talking to self-appointed Venice spokesman Larson E. Whipsnade.
"Sure, cleaning up the beach has had its cost. It's no longer Free Venice, since we privatised the beach," Larson says, "But it's much trendier."
Whipsnade points at one of his muscle-bound private police. "Look at the cloth!" he gloats, pointing to his cops' new designer-uniforms. "And we use non-polluting paddywagons to haul off anyone without a beach-permit to our civil rights deprivation facility, like the poor and unknown artists and anyone else not paying rent to me. Also our police use non-lead bullets and their billy-clubs contain no tropical hardwoods. We're concerned about the environment!"
And to pay for this Whipsnade shows me his Beach-o-Meter cash collection system. Every performing artist's space on the ocean front has what is actually a parking meter needing coins every 15 minutes. Also all benches on the walk have meters, with rules enforced by the muscle-bound patrol. But Veniceland policy is "regulate people, not property", and so business is just booming at Whipsnade's strip of newly built ocean-front shopping malls.
"Yes, we are a business-friendly town," he says, "and without low-paying mall jobs, how can people pay rent?" Whipsnade then takes our camera to a meeting of the Veniceland Vacuum Committee, a group of yuppies who have dedicated themselves to a whiter, brighter and much richer Veniceland. Their leaders, who sell real estate for a living, can be seen each morning disinfecting sidewalks in poorer parts of town. Such spirit they have!
"The poor need a clean place to land after being evicted," says Dina Reagan, head vacuumer. "It's the least we can do. They're not canal ducks. They have some rights."
Well, there you have it in beautiful, diverse VeniceLand: businesspeople caring for the less fortunate. This is Robbing Leech saying goodbye until next week's show. We're off to Brentwood to show nice-guy Mayor Dick Riordan giving his money away to poorer politicians. What a caring guy.
We're off to the Lifestyles Video Van...Hey! Where's the van? It was parked right here on the street!
"Oh, sorry," says Whipsnade, "no permit, no parking! You should've taken the beach shuttle--only 10 bucks!"
Oh, well! This has been Lifestyles of the Rich and Fascist. Bye-bye!