Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lovely Anaheim

Since I'm in this city today, the least I can do is share this clip of what was happening in a neighborhood here last weekend.

Over in the tourist section of town where I am, not far from Disneyland and the Convention Center multiplex, I won't see any of this. But this city of 335,000 people is seething. According to AP, Anaheim was 90 percent white in 1970; today it is 53 percent Latino. Old timers and newcomers have not made peace with each other.

Last time I was here, in 2009, Disney workers were protesting for a living wage. It's not much fun to work in the "service industry" where a job entitles you to provide drudgery with a smile for people who seldom notice your humanity. You should at least be paid decently for your efforts.

The current upheavals began when cops acted as if suspicion of gang-membership was enough to justify shooting at young Latino men.

On Saturday, a police officer fatally shot Manuel Diaz outside an Anna Street apartment complex. Officers say Diaz, who had a criminal record, failed to heed orders and threw something as he fled police. The city's police union said Diaz reached for his waistband, which led the officer to believe he was drawing a gun.

Diaz's family, which is suing for $50 million in damages, says he was shot in the leg and the back of the head. During a protest the night of the shooting, a police dog escaped and bit a bystander.

On Sunday night, police shot to death Joel Acevedo, a suspected gang member they say fired at officers after a pursuit.

Let's hope the police can get over thinking they have to behave like an occupying army in communities where their brown-skinned neighbors live.

Over in the resort area, we hope that the California Democratic Party will today endorse the Yes on Prop. 34 initiative to replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole.

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