I was seeing reports like this one:


Then a press release from Mayor Villeregoza came across my desk. I had to go see what was going on. I took another road trip down to LA. This is what I saw when I finally got there:

I took this picture looking through where the bulldozer had mashed through the fence around the farm. They had replace the fence, but you can see that the crops on the other side had been thoroughly scraped off. The walnut tree where Julia, John, and Darryl had done their tree sit had lost a few branches but would probably be okay if left to heal. The meadow below it where I took many pictures a couple of weeks before was deserted except for a couple of security guards in black.


Before there had been a wealth of signs, mostly handmade individual thoughts. Now there was just this one by the gate, as personal as a traffic ticket. I pointed my camera at one of the Security people behind it and she made threatening noises so I didn't shoot her. Instead I walked around the place. There were many, many more places that had been driven over by the bulldozer than I took pictures of.



I developed a feeling that keeping the farm intact is important during my first visit here during my campaign. Looking at the destruction of this loved place gave me some inkling of how Palestinians must feel after Israelis bulldoze their olive trees.


The bulldozer hadn't been everywhere. You could still see some places that look like the Garden of Eden.


Yes, everybody was thrown out. The spirit was still strong. The vigils would continue this evening as they had for months.

Kimberly told me something about what had happened the previous day. The nonviolent resistance had gone according to plan. They had managed to hold out for seven hours, one way or another. The blue drum full of concrete had been the weight one person had been anchored to the farm by. A few of the resistors had been cut up by the police trying to get them out of those kinds of things. Many people who heard about the attack had tried to get close, but they had been prevented from getting near by a solid wall of police surrounding the place.

The article had made page A8 of the LA Times. It indicated that 17 people had been arrested inside the property for failing to obey a court order to leave the place. Another 27 had been arrested outside for "failure to disperse". It further explained that according to the paperwork, Ralph Horowitz owned the property. The farm community had taken legal action to dispute that, but the State Supreme Court had decided not to hear the case, so Horowitz was exercising his rights getting them off the land.

Somebody told me that they had seen Horowitz on TV saying something like "I don't like these peoples cause, and I'm not going to sell the land to them." Somebody else talked about how they had raised the $16 million he had asked for, and he had turned it down, even though he had only paid about $5 million for it. They just didn't like that kind of greed. Thinking about it now, I'm hoping Horowitz cures the people of LA of ever wanting to be like rich people like him.


Somebody told me that dogs name is "Peace", in a language I don't know. It sounded like "Nikita". A bit later Tiffiny figured out Nikita was thirsty. There wasn't a bowl around, and pouring water on the sidewalk wasn't very efficient, even though the dog was willing to slurp it up from there. This farmer cupped his hands. I'd pour a slurp in them and s/he would lap it up. I gave her (him?) something like two thirds of the water in my bottle. Not long after that we started getting together for the vigil.


Dili began the vigil ceremony by saying they had managed to get everyone who had been busted the previous day out of jail. Then he introduced the honored guest of the evening, a Korean farmer.

The Korean said that he and his people stand with the farmers in their struggle against the western imperialists. He spoke in Korean, which sounded utterly unfamiliar to me. He would say a short sentence, and then somebody with their back to me would explain what that meant in English. Then this woman would translate that into Spanish. Then the Korean would say something else, his translator would say he had said "we need to do this today to make a better tomorrow", and then I would listen to the Spanish version. Sometimes I knew enough of the words to say "that must be right." The translations managed to puff out a very short statement into something with the gravitas of an international treaty.


The Koreans gave the farm's farmers and activists this flag as a token of their support.

The next speakers were these Mexican Movie Stars. They also felt the struggle is an important one.


After all the speeches, we lit candles and carried them around the farm, the part of the ritual that was the same as it had been the night I was there before. It wasn't really the occasion to be taking pictures, but these shirts spoke of other struggles that also need to be considered.

The general feeling I got from the leaders of this group was "we are right, we are obeying the law, we have not stooped to violence, and somehow we will prevail." There is not much money in hand farming small plots of land, but it is a great focus for a local community. I hope they prevail through some miracle of public consciousness. A Wal*Mart warehouse seems like way too sterile a use of the place to really be okay.