The local and the federal governments play a significant role in the process of land allocation. They determine where public developments ought to be established to enhance a balance between private and public facilities. The government has the power to convert private land into public land; however, proper valuation must be done and the owners compensated.
Normally, expropriation of land with or without compensation is intended for public interests. Practically, this case explores the process within which private land in the Chavez Ravine was acquired by the government and sold to the highest bidder for the construction of a stadium. The expropriation of land should be undertaken in a manner that conserves community values as well as the native community in that land. The documentary, Before the Dodgers, and Dundon’s article illustrates the process through which an entire community lost their home to the construction of the Dodger Stadium. Meanwhile Kaye discusses the present day racial discrimination where parents whose visas could not be renewed are orphaned by the deportation of their parents.
The expropriation of the Chavez Ravine was initiated by the formulation of the Housing Act of 1949, which aimed to achieve proper land planning to enhance the advancement of public interests without interfering individual progress. Initially, the home owners were relieved off their duty of property ownership with the promise of cash buyouts, and even a right of return offers, which were all comprehensively covered under the Housing Act of 1949 (S2 E2 11:48). However, a portion of the native minority group was unwilling to vacate their ancestral land which prompted them to question the move in court. Meanwhile, the election of the new Los Angeles mayor, Norris Poulson, abolished the Elysian Housing Project and authorized the people to vacate immediately after election (Dundon par.1). Unfortunately, the Supreme Court ruled against their favor and the sheriffs were used to forcibly evict those who declined (Dundon par.3).
Incidences of mistreatment of the minority by the powerful demonstrates a society where the law only protects the powerful. In order for the Dodger Stadium to be built in 1962, the Latino natives who lived in Chavez Ravine had to be forcibly evicted. After the ruling was made in favor of conversion of the private land into a public investment, the country sheriffs evicted the remaining homeowners out of their homes. According to Dundon, only 20 residents had remained and had settled in their homes for almost a decade (par.1). Apparently, most of the homes had been abandoned after the plan to roll out public and affordable houses was unveiled 10 years before the demotions started. It further means that the fate of the minorities lies in the date of the elite
The concept of the, ‘public good’ as outlined in the conventional political system has been trampled through corruption and manipulation of the law. The Chavez Ravine eviction saga is a perfect example of the degree of manipulation of the law by the rich. It is surprising that although the law dictates under the Housing Act of 1949 was clear, it still could not protect an entire community simply because the Judge decided to rule in favor of private developer. Any process initiated with the aim of upholding public good can always work as long the interests of all the people are taken into consideration (Williams 131). Practically, this explains the reason the first families opted for a cash out and public housing after the establishment of the Housing Act of 1949.
Abolishing the project before completion simply because there was a change of leadership was a clear illustration of the integrity failures in implementing the law to take care of the Chavez Ravine society. Even after they challenged their factual and legitimate case in court, it ruled against their favor (S2 E2 13:25). It can be equally illustrated on the current rate of victimization and panic among the minorities following the assumption of office by President Donald Trump (Kaye par3). His determination to deport individuals who have remained in the country without visas and leaving their children behind simply illustrates the uncertainties associated with the highly-pronounced democratic system (Kaye par.5). Inherently, social, economic, and political framework has metamorphosed following the constant strife to restore a reasonable social balance in the society. In this case, bad leaders mess the governance system and good leaders have to take a considerably long time to remedy the persistent social ills without a guarantee that future leaders will uphold integrity and respect for the social welfare.
Advancing the law gradually increases social problems in the contemporary society. Already too many people have been convicted for petty issues and as it appears, the law is formulated to create excuses for suppressing people’s freedom as much as possible. Additionally, the path for capitalism has robbed all public resources and accumulated them in the hands of a few. The documentary, Before the Dodgers, clearly illustrates how a huge society land was grabbed and entrusted in the hands of a few rich men (S2 E2). Globally, the top richest 62 individuals have as much wealth as the rest of the world (Elliot par.8). The intense scramble and partitioning of the inherent social wealth constantly suppresses the wellbeing of the society.
The essays further invoke concerns about whether the natives of Chavez Ravine were evicted due to their minority status. In the video, the owners demonstrate with placards asking, “what if it was your home they wanted”. Astonishingly, racially instigated injustices are common in the U.S. According to Seitles, minority groups are to date unable to secure property conveniently through the real estate business (89). An interview with most minority groups shows that the native real-estate owners are reluctant to sell property to the minorities especially in regions that are purely owned by whites. Arguably, racism against the minorities is propagated by the real-estate owners, who are entirely responsible for the modern racial segregation.
The issues pointed out in the documentary, Before the Dodgers, have been equally illustrated in various essays that seek to exemplify the flaws of the contemporary legal framework. Manipulation of the law to suit the interests of a few individuals remains the order of the political system in the contemporary society even in the most powerful nations in the world. While the election of new leaders come with the promise of a better leadership and social transformation, they are equally plagued by uncertainties and fear that these leaders lack the capacity to perform or are loyal agents of the capitalistic lobbyists. Concisely, it is apparent that the law of the survival for the fittest equally applies across the human faction, even with the prevalence of a comprehensive legal framework.
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“S2 E2: Before the Dodgers.” YouTube. Uploaded by KCETOnline, 3 Feb 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAtoyOI5VZg. Accessed 23 October 2018.
Dundon, Rian. “Photos: These Latino Families Were Forced Out of their Homes for A Rich Man’s Baseball Stadium.” Timeline, 25 October 2017, https://timeline.com/chavez-ravine-evicted-dodgers-fc5c2e2b8c38. Accessed 23 October 2018.
Elliott, Larry. “World’s Eight Richest People Have Same Wealth as Poorest 50%” The Guardian, 16 Jan 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jan/16/worlds-eight-richest-people-have-same-wealth-as-poorest-50.Accessed 23 October 2018.
Kaye, Jeffrey. “The Kids are Citizens. The Parents are Undocumented. What Now?” The Los Angeles Times, 10 March 2017, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-kaye-mixed-status-la-families-20170310-story.html. Accessed 23 October 2018
Seitles, Marc. “The Perpetuation of Residential Racial Segregation in America: Historical Discrimination, Modern Forms of Exclusion, And Inclusionary Remedies.” Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, vol.14, no.1, 1998, 89.
Williams, Rhys H. “Constructing the Public Good: Social Movements and Cultural Resources.” Social Problems, vol.42, no.1, 1995, pp.124-144.