Bury That Baby!
(Our scene begins deep within the bowels of the Los Angeles Times. A reporter is pitching his editor on a story idea.)
Reporter: I've got a hot one for you.
Editor (sighs): Let's hear it.
Reporter: Okay, it's the story of an African-American man...
Editor: Good start.
Reporter: ...who runs an alternative housing program for the homeless...
Editor (leaning forward with sudden interest): Go on.
Reporter: ...that's being forced to close after his landlord raised the rent...
Editor (nodding enthusiastically): Yes, yes.
Reporter: ...because the landlord doesn't like the man's political beliefs.
Editor (leaping out of chair excitedly): Gold! That's gold baby! We've got a minority victim, a repressive property owner, poor homeless people being thrown out into the streets, and another example crushing of dissent in George Bush's America!!!
(The editor grabs a pad and paper and pen and begins scribbling furiously.)
Editor: We're gonna need team coverage of this. Get a photographer down there right away. I want pictures. Lots of pictures. I can see the page now: shots of where the homeless people live next to pictures of the offices of the rich property owner. Yes, yes. And get someone from the entertainment section too. This story will get the celebrity cause crowd out. Mike Farrell? Jamie Foxx? My God, do you think...do you think that Streisand might get involved? She's so wonderful.
(He pauses and reflects dreamily)
Editor: Back to business. What angle should we push? Racism or politics? Hell, we can do both! This is going to be front page material baby, maybe even an on-going series. I smell a Pu-litz-zer.
Reporter: Um...there is one thing.
Editor: What, what? Out with it.
Reporter: The man is a Republican.
(Screeching sound of a turntable suddenly stopping)
A commentary by homeless activist Ted Hayes called Prejudice appeared in today's WSJ:
But it is not only insults. I am the founder and director of a unique, progressive homeless facility in downtown Los Angeles, known as the Dome Village. Yet the 35 men, women and children and their pets who call the Dome Village home are being "evicted" from privately owned property after 12-and-a-half years -- apparently on account of my political beliefs and activities. You see, though I am a leading homeless activist, I am also a conservative Republican and a strong supporter of President Bush.
Here's how the situation played out. Recently, I was invited to address a local Republican Women's Club; my landlord read an article in the local paper reporting on the event. Soon after, I received a notice raising the Dome Village rent from $2,500 a month to $18,330. Shocked, I inquired as to the seriousness of the change and the property owner blurted out that the cause of our "eviction" was "because you are Republican." He said that as a Democrat, he was tired of helping me and the Dome Village. In other words, let the homeless be damned.
And people think the Democrats are the party of compassion and tolerance.
Private property should be protected, of course, and I have no intention of causing any trouble for this property owner as we part ways. Whatever he does with his valuable land -- it is only a few blocks from the Staples Center -- is no concern of mine, and I will not go to court.
Great story, isn't it? And one that did not escape the attention of the Los Angeles Times, which saw fit to publish an account of it in the State News section of the paper. On Christmas Day.