Friday, August 17, 2012

LA musings

View out my window in Burbank.

I've been in Los Angeles this week. I've worked politically with folks here for many years and I've learned a few things that sometimes surprise people who haven't worked here. For example, in organizing volunteers to do electoral outreach, you have to understand that Angelenos don't have much of what I think of as "range." In other parts of the state, people think little of driving 20 or 30 miles take part in activities on an issue they believe in. Here, few will do anything that asks them to drive to a place a couple of towns over. You just have to accept this. They have a pervasive horror of the possibility of getting stuck in THE TRAFFIC.

And it can happen. It happened to me in a mild way the other morning on my way from Burbank to downtown LA. Sitting there on the freeway, penned in and not moving, I gradually realized that the tractor trailer next to me was pulling one of those aluminum 40 foot pens with holes all over the body -- and that inside the pen were what looked like hundreds of live hogs, presumably on the way to be slaughtered. We rested adjacent to one another for a few minutes, then the traffic unclogged and I pulled away.

Now that is a sight you'd never see within San Francisco city limits. The hog truck just wouldn't be there. Very few big tractor trailer trucks take the freeway through San Francisco because, with the city sitting out there on the tip of its peninsula, there is almost always a more efficient way to move freight north and south. In southern California, if you are going north and south, unless you are way out in the desert, you pass through some part of Los Angeles. So LA is integrated in the economic life of the region, both glamourous and grungy. Meanwhile San Francisco sits a little apart, wealthy to be sure, but not so immersed in life's productive grit, more a locus of brains and money on the move.

Thanks for the insight, hogs.

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