The Obamas in LA: See no evil, hear no evil
2 Feb, 2012 15:34
Over the next couple of weeks, President Obama and the first lady will be escaping DC to spend some time in sunny Los Angeles. They are not traveling there to enjoy the sun, though. They’re going on some very important business: fundraising.
The campaign just released a list of its top money bundlers, showing they’ve raised at least 75 million dollars – and the most prominent money bundlers are in California. It is also a state with one of the highest rates of unemployment, foreclosures and homelessness. Don’t expect the Obama’s to stop by any of the neighborhoods suffering from those issues, though.“If they were to come to places like this in South Central Los Angeles, or to Downtown LA to Skid Rows, they would be surprised at the reality,” said Carlos Marroquin, a homeowners advocate and Occupy LA activist, ahead of another visit from the Obamas.There are many stark realities in Los Angeles that the President and first lady do not get to see, and many voices they do not hear.“All you have to do is look at the people that are homeless. All you have to do s look at all the people being laid off,” said Osiris, a Los Angeles resident.“We’re on our way down and it may be down the drain maybe for good," said Gary Boatright, a homeless man living on the streets of Skid Row. He is one of the city’s 50 thousand homeless.“I don’t think much of them coming to LA or anywhere else. It’s what they do, not what they say,” said Boatright.He along with community activists, argue the White House hasn’t done enough to address our nation’s increasing wealth gap.“The issue of homelessness and poverty in America is obviously not a priority of the Obama administration. Basically poor people are being kept invisible,” he added.Poverty has risen in California every year since President Obama came into office. Today 6 million live below the poverty line and 1-in-5 Californians lack health coverage.“Unfortunately President Obama has been a huge disappointment to a lot of us,” Boatright said.While Boatright and his neighbors struggled, the Obamas have repeatedly tapped their state for donations.A ritzy fundraiser for the Obama campaign in Beverly Hills is open to those who can pay for a 35 thousand dollar dinner plate. Many are Hollywood’s power players who are almost always supportive and get to flex their political muscle behind the walls of multi-million dollar mansions. Meantime in California, more than a million homeowners have lost their home to foreclosure since 2008 and its estimated there will be a million more foreclosures in the state this year.“These are the people being affected. Beverly Hills is not being affected,” said Osiris.In Los Angeles’ historic Black neighborhoods, there still appears to be support for our nation’s first African-American president, but some of that support is wavering.“The state continues to oppress and exploit. Obama is just a spokesperson for it,” said Mzuri Pambeli, member of the All African Revolution Party.In the city’s poorest neighborhoods, there is a sense that they’ve been forgotten, while the nation’s elites continue to prosper and influence.“Monopoly capitalism has just developed into an oligarchy," said Pambeli.“He’s bailing out the one percent. He’s doing everything he said he wouldn’t do,” Pambeli added.As the Obamas court that one percent – adding millions of dollars to their political war chest – some say they are not hearing the message of the majority.“We have families crying for help and trying to get answers to their crisis,” said Marroquin.“From everything I can tell, he’s done very little to reverse the downhill slide, in what used to be known as the land of the free and the home of the brave,” said Boatright.