Things That Aren’t Here Anymore: Ralph Story

If you grew up in Southern California you know what good journalism, good reporting is because you heard Ralph Story. If you weren’t lucky enough to see his work: it’s too late, Ralph Story died.

Unique, Superb
After retiring from evening news reporting, Ralph Story began a series: telling us what Los Angeles used to be like, using pieces he found, hidden away by somebody who cared –bits, pieces used to illustrate good stories –of things that “Aren’t Here Anymore.” Now: he is one of them. May seem an odd way to characterize a reporter, but: he was refreshing. He told good stories very well. With his pieces as good as they were: it was easy to get annoyed –angry –that something had carelessly disappeared. Many many parts that made Los Angeles unique –distinct from Anywhere USA, were trashed by politicians du jour –with and without PROTEST at their stupidity.

I remember a fascinating one, about the little public tram and the hill tailored for it, downtown –so public could go up long steep street above. One look at that piece and it smashes one’s forehead: WHY would politicians destroy THAT? TOO useful??? Not enough money in it? –Pinheads couldn’t just raise the $.25 fare???

“Things That Aren’t Here Anymore”
Why protest –when it’s too late? Remembering that series, I borrowed his line to speak before Los Angeles Unified School Bored members –when they were about to rip down the last important landmark left in LA: the Ambassador Hotel.

So many hundreds, representing thousands, wanted to speak, protest, that open comment to the Bored ran three weeks, then extended. Despite Ralph Story’s good title, which got a few to actually look at me, those people were too indifferent, pre-programmed/agenda set, too bored to care. That’s why I label them “Bored members.”

–Learn history in historical setting Ambassador Hotel elevator, one of dozens - smashed, by: fitzgene, flickr –part school, part condo, part housing for teachers, part low-income rental –mixed use –last LA landmark in situe? Courtyard entrance-Wilshire Blvd. Ambassador Hotel –even though lots protested Hell No.

The Bored: caved to their little “leader” –who arrived here only four years earlier, but who refused to listen –to thousands of natives, long-time residents who spoke, wrote, e-mailed –called –begged Roy Romer to create a unique school, front, Ambassador Hotel to leave the Ambassador Hotel intact. He ignored –city leaders, agency heads –his own friends and got down where ugly politics thrive –with stirred-up immigrant parents, who were told: Ambassador Hotel OR a school . They allowed themselves to be used, manipulated –Roy Romer delighted to appease the uninformed.

Jose Huizar –Bored President?
He Could cozy up to MALDEF lawyers (how much did they make off the deal?) “representing” parents, who just wanted a school in the neighborhood –to five of Robert F. Kennedy’s kids –to union members –to arrogant egoist Romer. To fat-cat contributors, campaign strategists –and pro fund-raisers?

Huizar used children –to step on, to get on another rung of another career. –But: Tell their parents, that NONE of their children will attend school in destroyed Ambassador Hotel site? –That it won’t be finished in time? –That the Ambassador Hotel “EIR” kinda wasn’t done too well? –ANY truth? Hell NO.

Un-informed Parents
Los Angeles Conservancy members and volunteers walked surrounding neighborhood. When they knocked on doors, told parents the Rest of the Story: immigrant parents also wanted to save the Ambassador Hotel –their children to have unique opportunity.

LAUSD Bored members –not interested in doing the educating thing –too hot, busy congratulating themselves: for being in real estate biz.. Marlene Cantor, Bored, realtor…. The pandering Bored ‘caved’ and voted –to demolish . Entrance - for world's famous, by: chotda, flickr

They use our money to do secret polls, surveys –to find out –best way to ‘market’ –push their garbage on voters –to get ever more bond money to do this sort of act.

David Tokofsky, Schoolboard member District 5: lone voice, pleaded with the lemmings. Two joined him. You can see what’s left of the lemmings’ latest adventure into incompetence and spending your money Ambassodor Hotel, demolished, by Mr. Littlehand, Flickr.

But Oops –they be sooo busy they “forgot” to do homework –proper EIR –a ‘tad’ short. Once the great Ambassador Hotel: Rubble sitting on exposed toxic waste .

Gosh, toxic waste site –too bored to bother doing due diligence, before they destroyed the Hotel, even though there is still-closed toxic dump “Belmont High School” –they be sloooow learners….

LA Conservancy : accepted $5 million to ‘settle’ –claiming they needed the money –to give to historical schools that call when they need light fixtures and light bulbs??? The Bored ‘don’t have the money’ for light bulbs –for necessities??? Say What???

The Bored trashed the hotel to get “more school” instead of smaller learning units –for the same land –when they full well know: enrollment is falling. –No, not only the Drop-Out rate. Past two years: 20,000 fewer students. Projected: 5,000 fewer students every year. –Who can afford to live here, on Minimum Wage? The Bored doesn’t care. –They got your money –gonna rip down more houses, apartment buildings, shops to build those schools. Less housing = Empty schools? Too damn bad, the Bored are Busy mak’n Real Estate Deals.

If –IF they had Listened to the thousands, and not to some newly-arrived Kennedy kids, who want to pretend their father wasn’t murdered in the kitchen, and to construction companies… school AND living space –for teachers, for low-income, for condo owners –meeting and hotel rooms for LAUSD meetings, that now costs thousands –free. Duh. Ballroom for parties, proms, events –that could have, duh, generated income? Hmmm…just How did we get so lucky to get such morons?

I don’t imagine Mr. Story was any more amused than the rest of us who opposed actions of those people.

City Counsel
Your representative –did not care either: each “deferred” to the “member” in who’s district the Ambassador Hotel sat. They kept their mouths firmly shut. While the “member” used the Hotel: as political fodder –to wrongly enrage immigrant parents, who only wanted a new school –without ever mentioning: the school would not be completed in time for any of their children to attend it –or: that it didn’t need to be trashed to have a school.

The Member
Your “rep” in City Council obeyed –your wishes? –Common sense? Naw,
obeyed “tradition” –kept mouth SHUT –for: City Council “rep” who used Ambassador Hotel, fake facts, Latino parents –mess, to step directly into a job with a union –where he committed various acts to which he recently pled
“guilty.” His sentencing is coming up soon.

Things that aren’t here any more…
Common sense, common decency; doing things for the greater good, doing the right thing; organizations that report actual news that matters, informs –without “sellebrity” trash; regular salary for government employment –not using government to get personal wealth by ‘helping’ developers. We are awash with carpetbaggers, car chases, sellebrity crap.
Corrupt City Council?

Ralph Story is gone and so is fine journalism and the times in which people strove for the best, instead of for the shoddy quick, dirty, cliche-ridden avaricious with which we are now stuck. Good reporter –smart, witty, engaging, fine…daVine. Sorry to see you go, Mr. Story. You are already missed….
Ralph Story

tag: Ralph Story, Los Angeles history, Ambassador Hotel, LAUSD Board Roy Romer Marlene Cantor Jose Huizar, LA City Council Eric Garcetti Janice Hahn Bernard Parks, Los Angeles schools, Robert F. Kennedy, Los Angeles City Council, LA Conservancy, real estate developers



Filed under LAUSD bored, Los Angeles, Media, Politics

4 responses to “Things That Aren’t Here Anymore: Ralph Story

  1. Pingback: Event: Los Angeles Anti-Destruction, March 18 « daVine

  2. Gars Luber

    You act as though the Ambassador would have been saved if purchased by any other developer.

    Would you prefer Trump’s vision?

  3. poppy8sd

    It wasn’t purchased by “any other developer” –but by: LAUSD. They got into bidding war with Trump. He forced the Ambassador Hotel price up, LAUSD fell for it. After they did That: they tried to un-load the Hotel. No takers –after trying for years. No plans drawn. No ideas. NO PLANNING. They couldn’t find a buyer; they were Clueless; they were stuck.

    Over 80 –award-winning architects –designers –planners –actually smart people stepped up to LA Conservancy’s call. They all worked pro bono (FREE), drew up plans that would have made it possible for:
    -families From the NEIGHBORHOOD and teachers: live in renovated apartments or own converted condos at low-income rate since the structure was already paid
    -PLUS put up LAUSD visitors in hotel rooms –saving mega $$$
    -Plus Meeting facilities –that could generate income
    -Plus Food Facilities: public and teachers’ cafeteria, coffee shop, more
    -Plus ballroom: for proms, public events –that could generate income
    -Four: FOUR –Grades K through 12 Small-learning facilities –all ages –of a family could have lived and gone to school on-site
    –that accommodated ALL of the difficult, bi-polar requests of LAUSD. ‘Somehow’ no-cost Plans that met their every requirement did not “satisfy” them. LA Conservancy – Ambassador Hotel Settlement

    I talked to LA Conservancy (one to five times a day), various LA groups, Bored members and worked for many months trying to preserve the place where writers, Einstein, kings, beauties and wealthy bores –WW II grunts & military brass and my parents –danced –dined, swam, slept.

    I attended meetings: saw Romer’s lips move, “promise” everything would be ‘just fine’ with His plans. He “forgot” to mention: no existing child will attend –if structure torn down, new structure built; new construction (instead of renovation) would double or triple time until opening day; toxic waste –if structure destroyed. No developer could be that stupid and still get funding/make a successful project/trusted-allowed to do future projects. If you’re asking: no, I did not/nobody wanted –Trump, his plans or any developer to destroy. We thought LAUSD could be trusted, which was True –until Romer blew into town.

    After Hotel destruction: construction? Halted. Romer? He blew town –leaving others to figure out how to deal with the toxic waste and the parents –who have no school, and the children –still being bused far away from their neighborhood. Thank you for commenting. All views are welcomed –even wrong ones!

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