Made in Mexico*


Nothing gets done in this city without a Mexican, people are fond of saying by way of explanation Why Things Are.  By people, I mean those who who are on the vertical side of the capital/labor equation.


People who live here, for example.   Why should they have to bend over and pick up their socks in the morning?   There are Mexicans* for that.  They’re everywhere. Abundant and cheap.


They don white aprons and fetch things for us.  Who knows where they live?  We summon them, and they appear. Why shouldn’t it be this way? Wasn’t it always like this?


Don’t they have houses in the Valley, or something?


Or apartments, of some kind?  Seriously, I don’t see the issue. Americans don’t want to do these jobs.


No, I don’t know what happened to the people who use to live in those apartments…I don’t know where they went.


They probably went back to Oklahoma, or something.  It’s the natural order of things.


Hey, have you been to the new Whole Foods 365 in Silver Lake?  Talk about abundance.  Unfortunately, there are really long lines…

Van Nuys or Venice, 1948

The Choice, in 1948
Pick your scenery, in 1948

What is more remarkable here, that Van Nuys was once priced higher than Venice? Or realtors once offered “clothes poles” as an amenity?

Or Venice was a choice at all?

In case you were wondering, $9350 in inflation adjusted dollars would be $91,921 today.

You could own a house, freshly constructed, near the ocean in California for $368.95 a month at todays wages.

As you may have already observed, the fates of Venice and Van Nuys, as neighborhoods, have diverged.  In Piketty-ish terms, the family which chose the smaller lot by the beach, as opposed to the larger one in the suburbs would have realized an exponential rise in capital over labor.


Here’s 6817 Matilija today, courtesy of Google Streetview.      Houses on this block are listed at $500,000.  And they’re selling!  Madness, right?  Until you consider the alternative.

Untitled 3

Here’s a house in Venice on the same block of Greenwood as the ad, listed on Zillow at $1.2 million. Two bedrooms, one bath.

Almost makes one nostalgic for clothes drying on a line in the sun.

A Walkable City

Between the bungalows
For a million five, you can walk home on this path…
...this could be your neighbor's dooryard
…and this could be your neighbor’s dooryard.
The once and future bungalow
Behold the once and future Venice bungalow
Ponder the class struggle
Ponder the class struggle
The abandoned churchyard
Consider the riddle of the abandoned churchyard…
The value of modernist sculpture
..and the wit of modernist sculpture…
$650 lawn chairs made from scrap lumber
….and the spectacle of $650 lawn chairs made from scrap lumber.
The mystery of cross neighborhood political theater
Indulge in obscure cross-neighborhood political resentment

“Is Santa Monica a parasite to Venice? Every minute southbound planes leaving Santa Monica Airport, turn left over our blocks. Northbound ones turn right over the ocean so as not to disturb the rich white people north of Montana.  Santa Monica benefits at our expense with preferential parking, dog park use, only citing non-SM bike riders.”

For $1.5 million, you can bitch about the truly advantaged folks next door in Santa Monica, living at your expense.

Or you can get back in your car after a wonderful afternoon under a darkling sky and return to Van Nuys, where tagging is tagging, alleys are for dumpsters, and nobody walks anywhere.