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PREFACE

graying newspaper on Spring Street may have missed the obvious omens, every eleven-year-old in the city knew that an explosion of some kind was coming. In a city tragically full of armed and angry teenagers, LAPD Chief Daryl Gates's 'Operation Hammer' - with its Vietnam-like neighborhood sweeps and indiscriminate nightly harassment - was universally viewed as a deliberate provocation to riot. Indeed, this was the interpretation of the two rookie officers who arrested me after the LAPD's notorious attack on a peaceful Justice for Janitors demonstration in Century City in June 1990.1 was in every sense a captive audience, cuffed in the back seat of their patrol car, as they launched into a hallucinatory rant about a coming Armageddon, LAPD versus Uzi-armed Crips and Bloods, on the streets of Southcentral. So, if there were premonitions of 1992 in City of Quartz, they simply reflected anxieties visible on every graffiti-covered wall or, for that matter, every lawn sprouting a little 'Armed Response' sign. City of Quartz, to use one of those Parisian terms that I usually try to run over with my pick-up truck, is the biography of a conjoncture: one of those moments, ripe with paradox and non-linearity, w hen previously separate currents of history suddenly converge with profoundly unpredictable results. City of Quartz - in a nutshell - is about the contradictory impact of economic globalization upon different segments of Los Angeles society. In 1990, Los Angeles had been governed for almost a generation by a nationally unique coalition of downtown business interests, Westside entertainment-industry Democrats and Southside Black voters. After the helter-skelter of the 1960s, w hen the reactionary populism of rogue mayor Sam Yorty had come perilously close to wrecking the city, the administration of Mayor Tom Bradley, elected in 1973, represented the first sustained experiment in government by elite consensus. The long conflict between Westside and Downtown elites ended in a historic compromise that included Westside support for accelerated downtown redevelopment, and Down­ town (especially Chandler-dynasty) support for a largely Democratic City Hall. Westside/Downtown cooperation under the honest brokerage of Tom Bradley made possible the most ambitious expansion of municipal infra­ structure since William Mulholland built the original Aqueduct. Indeed, the greatest single achievement of the Bradley era was the immense program of new investment in ports and airports that allowed L.A. to become a dominating hub of Pacific Rim commerce, and, thus, to survive the eventual post-Cold War downsizing of its aerospace economy. Bradley, moreover, was able to accomplish these Robert Moses-like feats despite a hostile environment of tax revolts, government downsizing and Reaganomics. His administration hewed to the conservative principle pioneered by Mulholland and his fellow Progressives in the Department of

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