I returned to New Hampshire fresh from a three-month-long rental apartment in Los Angeles. There were several reasons to leave, and one of them was to say to flee for the first time in 59 years this winter in New England. I did not realize that the northeastern winter would be the warmest from Bible times, but I still enjoyed sunny Southern California.
Find meaningful and satisfying jobs.
Given that I try to help people find meaningful and satisfying jobs, I tend to keep track of the local economy as I travel. I am interested in many indicators, such as the number of open windows and office space available, the number of homes and apartments for sale, local employment news reports, and the general behavior of business activities. Monitoring economic development in Los Angeles was a natural event. I want to share some of what I have seen in this other corner of the country.
To begin with, it might be helpful to mention what I expected to see from California coming from a state that certainly experienced a significant downturn recently, but survived a recession better than many other countries, including California. I have heard about 10% unemployment, high coercion, high cost of living, an increase in illegal immigrants, and the inability of the government to finance many services. So it’s all Tinsel Town’s reputation that the city has, full of superficiality and inflated egos that all fight for someone’s attention, no one. I expected the city to face difficult times. Does observation reinforce these negative assumptions? Not as much as I thought it would be.
On the contrary, when I lived on the West Side of Los Angeles, I saw vitality, hard work, and surprisingly little homelessness. The place is noisy. Now I’ve never been to one of the most delicate sections like Brentwood, Westwood, or Marina Del Ray (although I’ve been within walking distance of charming Culver City). What I saw about what defines the middle class in Los Angeles is that a mix of Mexicans built most of the commercial and residential buildings and sidewalks that connect them, Pakistanis, Asians, Africans, the Middle East, Indians, and Central Americans, Jews, and Muslims, Christians, Harry Krishnas, Anglos and others in one community. Not isolated. There was a change of power trade within this population. There were also many adjustments in residential housing.
The social and economic phenomenon
The only social and economic phenomenon that is historical and mostly happens is that Latinos mainly inhabit the working class. They wash cars, clean buildings, take care of gardens, and do construction work. But the strong family ties I saw shared, the high quality of the work on display, and the ubiquitous Spanish language competing with English in community use describe the growing power and influence of this group on city life.
One would think that the country’s second-largest city would have such a diverse industry that no one could control the other. It does not take long to see it, but entertainment is king here. The film, television, and music industries strongly support the Los Angeles economy, culture, and lifestyle. From large studios like Paramount and Sony to small editorial stores that dot the production of cityscapes of what the world loves to see and hear, that’s the foundation of what makes this place such a brand. But it is not just the production of a product that defines the nature of a city. Their creativity and creative ability are incredible. Los Angeles attracts artists from all over the world who create a vibrant creative art scene. New ideas and ways to shape the future are great. Hybrid concepts are everywhere. I saw what I consider to be the future of America alive today in Los Angeles.
One scene that captured life in Los Angeles for me was a day in February when I was walking down a residential street, and I heard an oncoming popcorn coming out of an approaching car window. I was expecting to be a teenager behind the wheel. I ended up doing a double on one of the burqa-clad Muslim women in the neighborhood, driving a Prius and playing her contemporary music at the highest volume. I knew then that I was no longer in New Hampshire.