24
Mon, Jun

Good Queen Bass

LOS ANGELES

ACCORDING TO LIZ - With much appreciation for the unknown 13th century composer, and the 17th century lyric writer of the Christmas carol we know as “Good King Wenceslas” who wanted to underline good works. Readers are encouraged to hum along.

 

Good Queen Karen Bass looked out

At her inauguration,

Saw the homeless lying roundabout

An affront to the celebration.

 

“Here’s LA’s true urgency,

We cannot stand it any longer.

I hereby declare an emergency

To make changes, bold and stronger.

 

“If regulation slows construction,

We’ll find some different tools.

Though it cause community destruction

We’ll gut those pesky rules.

 

So Rick Caruso and developers be sure,

Whatever you are selling,

Our queen hopes to help you bless the poor

Each with an affordable dwelling.

 

Gutting CEQA, pushing densification,

Will lead to more ghettoization.

What is driving up cost is gentrification

Here and across the nation.

 

With such powerful strategies in her sights,

Housing in every neighborhood,
But will forcing these projects into Boyle Heights

Apply equally to Bel-Air and Brentwood?

 

Thousands of vacancies exist in our city

So please stop permitting tear downs

That replace needed affordability

With more full-lot McMansions

 

Oh, good Queen Bass, why can’t you see

We don’t need harmful legislation,

Repeats of Scott Weiner state policy 

And comparable exploitation.

 

For taking up the battle, we commend you

For confronting this daunting challenge,

But please be careful that in helping the few

The many don’t suffer damage.

 

Start small and wisely and then expand on

So neighborhoods you do not rupture.

More construction will put too much demand on

Our shaky infrastructure.

 

The nuanced approach of Biden’s plan 

Has a holistic point of view.

Work with this type of guidance and

You’ll always have our thank you.

 

There are structural problems of funding and care.

It’s hard for profiteers to imagine

Solutions for those who live on a hope and a prayer

And want only love and compassion.

 

What about those who like the existence

Of living under a freeway?

Who refuse their meds and reject assistance

Don’t want the changes headed their way?

 

Warehousing the unhoused may not be best

It will only create more division.

Instead of street people, there’ll be massive protest

Displayed on worldwide television.

 

Strategic pushing, making single homes obsolete,

In the name of the sick and addicted

Won’t help us rescue from the squalor of the street

Everyone so afflicted.

 

And even with two jobs and more

People can’t afford rent or a mortgage

The need for better wages, we can’t ignore

Before claiming there’s a housing shortage

 

Hold up, Queen Bass, please think, be sure.

Can’t you generate a better mission?

For achievements that have to occur

Before you can achieve your vision.

 

People need education, and good healthcare

Other basic skills and support

To solve why they lost their homes before

Or, again, your dreams will fall short.

 

Yes, the way is far harder now

Because political winds blow stronger

For quick fixes and committing to how

To fund corporate profit-mongers.

 

But there are other resources, and ways to coach,

More innovative wisdom.

We must engage in a systemic approach

To build for you, your queendom.

 

Unaffordable shelter and negativity

Lead to crime and mass depression.

If we can’t overcome inequality

How can we escape oppression?

 

Will you, dear Queen, take up this fight

For the social justice we all sought, and

Address such harms from dawn till night

To help out our downtrodden.

 

Public housing alone won’t fix this peril

To help men, and women, and children.

What we really need now is the political will

To truly shake up the system.

 

You’ll have steadfast support and no obstruction

To attack the greed at City Hall,

And ensure all those caught up in corruption

Are headed for a fall.

 

But to get Angelenos housed with efficiency

Means working together with all others.

It’s giving everyone the same proficiency

To connect with our sisters and brothers.

 

Readers, you can be sure, whether or not wealth or rank possessing

Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing

 

(Liz Amsden is a contributor to CityWatch and an activist from Northeast Los Angeles with opinions on much of what goes on in our lives. She has written extensively on the City's budget and services as well as her many other interests and passions.In her real life she works on budgets for film and television where fiction can rarely be as strange as the truth of living in today's world.)