The estimable Hector Tobar in his column today (7/28) in the L.A. Times makes the case that for all its troubles, nostalgia is just nostalgia, and in many ways, California’s golden age is now. To bolster his points, he interviews historian Kevin Starr, who points out to him that for all its troubles, California is a much more just place than it was when it seemed that government worked like a well-oiled machine.
Tobar and Starr focus on two monuments to California history, the now-nearly forgotten Ft. Moore Pioneer Memorial on Hill Street in downtown L.A., dedicated in 1957, and a more recent monument, to the 1847 Treaty of Cahuenga, at the Universal City Red Line subway stop. About the latter monument, Tobar writes:
The brightly colored tile murals installed by Margaret Garcia inside the Universal City Metro Station are under the site of the signing of the 1847 Treaty of Cahuenga, which brought an end to the fighting in California.
A fraction of the size of the Ft. Moore memorial, they detail the exploits of the U.S. military men like John Charles Fremont, but also the courage of the Californio resistance leaders like Doña Bernarda Ruiz.
It was Ruiz who helped make the treaty possible, by writing a letter to Fremont proposing “to put an end to the war . . . upon such just and friendly terms of compromise as would make the peace acceptable and enduring.”
This newer monument may be buried under the Hollywood Freeway, but I think its message of compromise and diversity deserves to last a little longer.
To read the whole column, click here.