Posted on | April 20, 2010 | 4 Comments
As a somber Mayor of Los Angeles delivered his State of the City address this afternoon, the set dressing said as much as the speech. Los Angeles is a place flagging as much from failure of imagination as from a monetary crisis. Fluffing out the rim of the podium were a mix of Boston ferns and birds of paradise. Behind the Mayor were crumpled-looking American flags.
This is not the stage set worthy of our Mayor, our city or our region. There is no reason for gratuitous greenery when announcing painful budget cuts, or any other occasion. Better no plants than the wrong ones. Better no flags than rumpled ones.
But, if we must decorate, then let’s decorate with our best asset, our natural beauty. Let’s fly our city flag for State of the City addresses. When our Mayor speaks of stalwartness, let’s surround him with rugged agaves instead of ferns. And let’s not just do it as stage setting. Let’s follow suit by landscaping all public property in Los Angeles, starting with City Hall, with our glorious indigenous plants. Let’s build a vernacular of hope built on what we have, not mismatched flora from New Zealand and South Africa. When we talk about conservation, let’s do so from a city that is a living example of it. The best part? The city would be able to, say, restore cut library hours on what it would save on mowing and blowing turfgrass, a plant that is as unsuited to this region as a Boston fern is at a Los Angeles State of the City speech.