Excerpts from the NORTH AMERICAN ROAD ATLAS AND SURVIVAL GUIDE, 3rd Edition

Los Angeles, California

by W. Peter Miller and Scott Haring


Once a "promised land" for dreams of all kinds, Los Angeles emerged from the upheavals of the past 25 years a vastly changed - and much smaller - city. Current population estimates are just under 1.5 million, down from the all-time high (in 2010 of 8.8 million. Autoduelling fans will have no trouble finding plenty of action in L.A. - in the arenas, on the freeways, and in the streets.

History

Los Angeles County was devastated by the double punch of massive Food Riots and the Great Earthquake of 2015, and the city government collapsed completely after the Thanksgiving Massacre of 2017. Municipal buildings were burned, and virtually all city records were lost. Rioting and anarchy ruled the streets for three years. The studios, already walled, hired additional security forces and mounted aggressive defence plans. The studio employees and owners were safe here, but their homes in Beverly Hills could not be saved. Street gangs ruled huge sections of the city.

Finally, the area began to stabilize, with over 100 groups ruling small pockets of the city. The only way to reunite the city was to allow the groups in power to maintain control officially. During the historic Reasoner Studio Summit, representatives from all major groups signed the first truce. The Civic Senate was born in those meetings.

Los Angeles Today

There are currently more than one hundred regions ruled by independent bodies (street gangs, citizens' groups, the AADA, studios, police, labor unions, etc.). Each of these Civic Territories (CTs) sends a representative to the Civic Senate, which elects a Mayor every four years. Politics in L.A. are complex, with different factions fighting for control in individual CTs and groups of CT representatives hustling for control of the Senate. The Civic Senate proceedings are broadcast live, and make compelling, if confusing, television.

Laws vary widely between CTs and are determined by the current ruling body. Some CTs allow weapons to be displayed openly, but others forbid them entirely. The studio CTs generally fall into the latter group. In many Hispanic regions, the carrying of weapons is legal, but their concealment is a crime and a breach of honor. Travellers should contact the Los Angeles branch of the AADA immediately upon arrival for the free booklet, "Personal and Vehicular Weapons in Los Angeles." This booklet is updated monthly in order to keep pace with the changes in CT rule.

The rich CTs, like Venice near the ocean, are walled or fenced off, and don't allow weapons of any type without a permit. Venice has their own democratic government, and the local politicians are respected and popular leaders. The government is strict by local standards, but very much in line with constitutional law. Venice was named by its original developer, and after the additional canal construction during the 1990s, the name is still appropriate. The city is lined with canals, and many of its wealthy residents have private boats. The coastal city is fenced off, and armed security patrols motor through the "moat," the canal that encircles the city. Three drawbridges connect the city to the rest of Los Angeles. Any duelling on city streets will be met with swift action from the well-equipped Venice Police Dept. There are many fine restaurants and shops located along the canals of Venice.

The film and television studios run Hollywood. The Hollywood Committee has representatives form each studio, makes all the civic laws and decision, and sends a representative to the Civic Senate. There is a lot of political action at all levels of the government. There is infighting within each studio to decide who should be sent to the Hollywood Committee, and the machinations of the Committee would confuse the most active political observer. The Senator is chosen by a complex process that is never really clear to the outsider. It is known, however, that television ratings, box office, and a general committee vote are all elements of the process. The average Hollywood citizen is unaffected by the politics. The changes in leadership make little difference to those living outside the studio walls.

Hollywood itself is quite open, with no walls, fences, or checkpoints of any kind to prevent travel into or out of the city. The studios themselves are another matter entirely; they are walled miniature cities. The walls are patrolled, and heavy firepower is prominently displayed. The studio bosses control nearly every aspect of life inside their studio; who gets what office, what the commissary serves, and who is allowed to bring personal and vehicular weaponry inside the walls. This last privilege is reserved only for the most important executives, stars and directors. These studio fortresses have never been breached, and probably never will be.

Highways

Driving through Los Angeles can be a frightening proposition. There are more cars here than in any other city in America, and most of them are armed. Many have just defensive weapons, which allows them to pass through nearly all the CTs. The freeway system is exempt from all weapon laws. Duelling is illegal on the freeways, but common.

The freeway system is very extensive, however, and can take the typical visitor anywhere he or she would want to go. Road quality is surprisingly good, considering all the abuse and damage the streets and freeways here suffer.

Facilities

Orange Country Stadium. This arena is quickly becoming L.A.'s most popular as continuing gang troubles make the trip to the Civic Arena more hazardous. Orange Country has a full slate of autoduelling in the spring and summer, but shares the facility with the Rams combat football team in the fall.

Civic Arena. Still the biggest autoduelling arena in the area, despite decreasing attendance. All the major Southern California championships are held here, as was the 2035-36 AADA World Championships.

Orange County Autoduel Race/Arena. Modelled after the famous Muskogee, OD, dueltrack, the RaceArena (as it is known) is a large racetrack with an arena in the center oval. The RaceArena frequently holds gas-powered racing events and more traditional autoduelling action on the same card, but so far, there have been no duels mixing the two vehicle types.

Anaheim Autoduel Arena. The last of the "Big Four" Los Angeles-area autoduel arenas, Anaheim is very popular with tourists but looked down on by the locals. It's proximity to Disneyland has earned it the nickname, "The Mickey Mouse Arena" - a two-edged name that is not always meant as a compliment.

Jet Track. Perhaps the most interesting of the many smaller arenas throughout the area. the Jet Track is little more than a drag strip, with two parallel half-mile straightaways. What sets the Jet Track apart is the use of experimental jet-cars powered by reconfigured gas turbine engines. These vehicles are not AADA-sanctioned, but still fun to watch. One note: The track management requires spectators sitting in the first 10 rows to be wearing fireproof suits, due to the unstable nature of the equipment being used.

The Tar Pit. The Number One autoduelling bar in town, the Tar Pit is the favorite hangout of not only the top duellists on the Southern California circuit, but also the many movie actors, executives and technicians who are duelling fans. The networking goes both ways; many a movie star has put together a top-notch autoduelling team here, and plenty of autoduellists have found stunt work and acting jobs. There is no weapons code at this bar, but while fistfights are common, gunfire is not. Any patron firing a weapon on the premises is immediately shot by everyone else with a clear line of sight, with the expected fatal results. The motto above the door says it all - "An armed society is a polite society."

Muscle Downs. There are hundreds of charge stations and repair shops in the metroplex, but none with the reputation of Muscle Downs. Located practically on the beach, Muscle Downs is the undisputed leader in autoduelling repair, upgrade, retrofit and customizing. The prices are top-of-the-line, but so is the quality and the service. Muscle Downs is so valued by the various segments of autoduelling society that an informal "neutral zone" has been declared on the premises. Bike gangs, drug runners, champion duellists, vigilantes, couriers and policemen all bring their business to Muscle Downs, and they all leave each other alone while there.

Los Angeles is a big place - just about anything you need, you can get. There are a number of minor arenas not described above (some in abandoned parking garages), hundreds of auto service and recharge stations and truck stops, six TV stations, numerous film studios, 20+ colleges, 200+ hospitals (with 15 Gold Cross facilities), one major and numerous minor airports, and a major seaport.

Autoduelling

Visitors to Los Angeles are advised to exercise extreme caution. Avoid side streets. Take the freeways whenever possible. While duels are not uncommon here, the chances of an ambush are slight. Any battles encountered are likely to be either avoidable or one-on-ones with you against your attacker.

Getting involved in arena duelling is easy. On any given night, at least seven arenas are holding amateur nights. While some of the more popular arenas have waiting lists, someone willing to start at one of the smaller arenas should have no trouble getting in.

Organizations

In the gang-ruled CTs, there is heavy gang activity. The CT borders are fluid, and gangs continue to wage border wars to expand their territory. It is important to note that these acts of collective violence are often legal under the laws of the individual CTs

Watts, in south-central Los Angeles, is a good example. The CT is large, but much of the space is filled with the nearly abandoned shells of crumbling apartment complexes. Four major and numerous minor gangs vie for control of the region. Pyrpyl Haze currently has ruling power in the region and is in a constant battle to maintain control.

The average Watts resident is more interested in keeping food on his plate and a roof over his family's head than in keeping up with local politics. Jobs are few, and welfare doesn't go as far as it could. Many live in abandoned sectors that haven't been rebuilt since the Food Riots. Drug abuse is common in the CT, with Hype and EBF being the most common street drugs. Kids are pressured to join gangs when they are as young as six. These pee-wee gangs teach the kids every they need to know to live on the streets. What they don't teach is how to get off the streets and into a better life.

Daryll Barnes is the ruler of the CT as well as that of the Haze. He attends the weekly meetings of the Civic Senate, and it is during these meetings that most of the attacks on his CT occur: in his absence, when the Haze is without a leader and at their weakest. Watts is currently at war with Inglewood over cruising rights to Central Avenue.

Vigilante activity is surprisingly low in Los Angeles. Those inclined to eliminate criminals in the name of justice have turned their energies toward protecting their CTs from outside forces. Except for the most expansionist of the gang-controlled CTs, the prevailing philosophy in Los Angeles is one of "live and let live" - a remarkable testimony to the effectiveness of the Civic Senate.


HTMLized by Odette Mintrom, tcmom@c130.aone.net.au