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Independence Day in Southern California

fireworks outside the Lancaster Soccer Center
Families gathered outside the Lancaster Soccer Center to watch fireworks, despite the ban.

Trust you all had a safe and happy 4th of July celebration. My wife and I had planned a day of fun at Malibu’s Zuma Beach, but found it was closed along with all other L.A. County beaches. Not a problem, we understand the theme of taking a couple steps backwards in a united front to defeat the deadly C-19 that has been savaging our nation.  Unfortunately the concept of good citizenship is alien to many of our bad citizens who think the spreading of the virus to our most vulnerable, by not adhering to the L.A County mandate of wearing masks and social distancing, is their right under the constitution. But isn’t this a national crisis? We came together during WWII, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and were once quarantined in L.A. homes due to the Rodney King riots. Police departments have been instructed to give fines to offenders, but are having difficulties coordinating it with L.A. County officials. So far it’s just been warnings and handing out masks. The City of West Hollywood, however, is now offering fines.  Surround by L.A. proper, the city is small and easy to maintain. In a blow to travel, the E.U. has banned all travel from the U.S. as a result of the polarization of the pandemic by our Executive Office. We now lead the world with infections, with Brazil and Russia behind us. With exception of Sweden, the E.U stats of the spread of the virus have actually flattened, while ours is shooting straight up into the sky to an unknown destination. And what’s this from our Executive Office: by eliminating testing the cases will magically go down and soon C-19 will disappear. Perhaps this is a plan we should administer to people with the fear of cancer; the less tests and the cases of cancer will disappear.

Will Rogers Park and the Bevery Hills Hotel
Left: In 1926, Will Rogers was appointed first “Honorary Mayor” of Beverly Hills and, in 1952, the city renamed the park, “Will Rogers Memorial Park.” Right: The Beverly Hills Hotel is closely associated with Hollywood film stars, rock stars, and celebrities.

Nevertheless, my spouse and I drove around the city’s canyons; once former lima bean farms, basking in its beauty of transplanted palm trees and endless array of brilliant desert vegetation. We found a small pocket park, about half a block in size, on Sunset Boulevard, across the street from the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel. We sat on shaded park benches, reading, talking and eventually taking photographs. It’s a famous landmark park, dedicated to Will Rogers, and a popular site for wedding photographs. Charlie Chaplin shot part of his silent film masterpiece, The Idle Class there, and the Beverly Hills Hotel itself was on the cover of the Eagles LP, Hotel California.

fireworks smoke blankets Los Angeles
Fireworks smoke blankets the City of Angels the day after.

When the 4th of July sun went down, we were disturbed to find Los Angeles County residents were ignoring the fireworks ban and lighting the sky with illegal fireworks.  The Los Angeles Fire Department claimed it responded to more than 100 fires, and the next morning unhealthy smoke blanketed the city. The city of Lancaster actually defied the fireworks ban, with mayor Rex Parris stating,  The only thing that will stops us is handcuffs. Is this blatant defiance of Law and Order an ugly precursor of things to come? We hope and pray that bad  citizens come to terms with this crisis, and realize that they and the Executive Office are the problem. Together, standing united, we can fix it.

And remember Covid-19 Direct Relief,  who addresses the courage of health workers on the front lines, honoring them with meaningful support, and the people most at risk in this pandemic are cared for – regardless of politics, religion, or ability to pay.

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